Governor Hochul “Considering Options” when it comes to Vaccine Mandate For Health Care Workers

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Governor Kathy Hochul was in Rochester on Monday to talk about a lead paint removal program the City has that she wants to expand state-wide but she also took a few off-topic questions from reporters following the press conference.

A recent NYS Supreme Court Ruling deemed the COVID19 vaccine mandate for health care workers “null and void,” saying the Governor and New York State Department of Health overstepped their authority by mandating a vaccine that’s not included in NYS Public Health Law. 

News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke asked her about the decision and what happens next:

Jennifer Lewke – Our healthcare systems are in desperate need of staff right now, we’ve had ambulances waiting five hours at our local emergency rooms to unload patients. The hospitals and nursing homes say they’re waiting for DOH guidance on whether they can hire any of those workers back. What’s the latest on that?

Governor Kathy Hochul – Well, we’re considering all our options with respect to the litigation so, I can’t comment on that, but I will say that last year in my State of the State, we put forth a plan to help retention and also recruitment and a lot of those programs are just unfolding now. $20 billion to bring back the healthcare system, including bonuses for existing workers, helping settle nursing strikes, which I get very involved in, to make sure that patients are being cared for.  It’s a problem, but I don’t think the answer is to have someone who comes in who is sick, be exposed to someone who can give them coronavirus, give them COVID-19. I don’t know that that’s the right answer. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s not.  So, we’re exploring our options, but I think everybody who goes into a healthcare facility or nursing home should have the assurance, and their family members should know, that we have taken all steps to protect the public health and that includes making sure that those who come in contact with them at their time of most vulnerability, when they are sick or elderly, will not pass on the virus.  We lost 34 New Yorkers yesterday, we have 4,000 active cases. This is not going away, as much as we wish it would.

Jennifer Lewke – Couldn’t there be other safety precautions, masking?  Or other mechanisms in order to allow some of them back in? I mean we’re at crisis level here in our hospitals and nursing homes.

Governor Kathy Hochul – I understand the balance. I truly understand the challenge of the balance, and these are never easy decisions, but I cannot put people into harm’s way, because when you’re going to a health care facility, you expect that you’re not going to come out sicker than you went in, I think that’s something every New Yorker would expect.