Featured Image
Kathy HochulPhoto by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Global Citizen

(LifeSiteNews) — The state of New York declared a state of emergency as it is facing a shortage of healthcare workers due to the COVID-19 jab mandate. Anyone working in a healthcare facility had to get at least the first COVID jab by 5 p.m. on Monday, or else faces termination.

Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul officially declared a state of emergency Monday, which will allow her to call in National Guard troops who are “medically trained,” according to the governor, to fill in. The most recent estimate places the number of unjabbed healthcare workers at 94,000, about 16 percent of employees.

Neither the New York Department of Health nor Hochul’s office responded to LifeSite’s request for comment Tuesday morning.

Hochul’s executive order allows licensed medical workers in other states to practice in New York and will give more liberty for medical students who will graduate by 2022 to practice medicine.

The shortage has led to cuts in healthcare capabilities at a number of places.

“Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse will temporarily close 22 of its 35 operating rooms starting Monday in anticipation of a growing staff shortage,” reported Monday.

The news site reported that “priority will be given to surgeries that are medically necessary, time sensitive or involve critical-care trauma cases, the hospital announced Friday.”

Upstate Medical University’s job bank lists over 300 open nursing positions and more than 700 nurse practitioner or physician assistant job openings.

Erie County Medical Center has stopped taking in new ICU patients, according to a spokesperson for the system. “Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo suspended elective inpatient surgeries and had stopped accepting intensive-care patients from other hospitals as it prepares to fire hundreds of unvaccinated employees,” Reuters reported, based on a statement from spokesperson Peter Cutler.

The decision to lay off healthcare workers has drawn the criticism from medical doctors.

“Swapping out experienced nurses with nat guard who are not familiar with a hospital’s systems, local ways of doing things & emerg protocols has risks,” Johns Hopkins doctor Marty Makary wrote on Twitter. “Recognize natural imm, instead of demonizing our heroes who put their lives on the line and got Covid.”

University of California San Francisco medical professor Vinay Prasad agreed with Makary. “In March 2020 people talked about letting folks with natural immunity return to work, but since then we denied it exists. Truly don’t get it. Marty is right,” the practicing hematologist and oncologist said. Prasad is also an epidemiologist and biostatistician.

Political leaders have also taken notice.

“Gov. Hochul’s vaccine mandate is throwing our healthcare system into chaos, ruthlessly firing frontline healthcare workers who sacrificed so much the past 18 months to fight COVID,” Republican New York Congressman Lee Zeldin said. “Proud to join local healthcare workers in calling on the Governor to revoke this cruel order.”

A federal judge is currently considering a lawsuit from medical professionals who have sued to stop the Hochul administration from eliminating religious exemptions from its jab mandate.

“The main objection is a religious one,” Thomas More Society attorney Stephen Crampton told LifeSiteNews on September 22. “[I]t is the conviction that they would be, in effect, cooperating with condoning the taking of innocent human life through abortion, because each of the vaccines currently available was tested and/or produced with fetal cell lines from aborted babies.”

He said he expects his clients will prevail in court. The judge is expected to make a decision on a permanent injunction by October 12.

UPDATE, Sept. 28, 2021, 1:18 p.m.:

Abigail Barker with the New York Department of Health shared a news release from the governor’s office, but did not address questions about how many National Guard troops would be used as fill-in employees.
She also said that it is up to private medical organizations to decide what to do with unjabbed employees.
“Please note that is up to covered entities to develop a plan for implementation of the mandate and what happens if employees do not comply. Their plans could include termination,” Barker told LifeSite via email after the publication of this article.
While Barker said that termination mandate applies to state employees, the original announcement from then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo makes no such distinction, only allowing for some exemptions. Hochul allowed only medical exemptions and eliminated religious exemptions.