New York’s largest Healthcare provider, Northwell Health announced on October 4th that they fired 1,400 employees that refused to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
Northwell Health has about 76,000 employees and needed their employee vaccination numbers to be at 100% so they fired the remaining employees that were unvaccinated. Northwell Health’s Vice President, Barbara Osborn stated “having a fully vaccinated workforce is an important measure in our duty to protect the health and safety of our staff, our patients and the communities we serve.”
In August, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state would require healthcare workers to get at least one shot by September 27th. According to New York State’s website as of September 29th, 87% of their hospital workers statewide have been vaccinated.
There was no option of weekly testing to substitute the vaccine along with any religious exemptions allowed. According to The New York Times, courtrooms in New York are working to determine “when and how to allow exemptions.” According to Joe Kemp, Northwell’s spokesperson “Our goal was not to terminate employees, our goal was to get people vaccinated.”
For those employees that refused to receive the covid-19 vaccine and then got fired by Northwell, they are not eligible for unemployment unless they have a doctor approved note stating medical exemption.
Northwell’s spokesperson stated “Northwell regrets losing any employee under such circumstances, but as health care professionals and members of the largest healthcare provider in the state, we understand our unique responsibility to protect the health of our patients and each other.”
With the many nurses and doctors leaving with the refusal of the covid vaccine there is a staff shortage in New York for healthcare workers. According to New York State’s website, in response, Governor Kathy Hochul declared a Statewide Disaster Emergency which allows her to get help from the national guard, speed up visas for workers from elsewhere, and quickly recruit new doctors and recently retired ones.