New York State Nurses Association responds to Announcement of a COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare Workers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 16, 2021
Contact: Kristi Barnes | press@nysna.org | 646-853-4489

New York – In response to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcement mandating all healthcare workers in New York receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by September 27, the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) today issued the following statement:

“With the sharp increase in primarily unvaccinated patients entering hospitals around the state, we understand more must be done to keep our communities safe. In conjunction with the vaccine mandate, the Department of Health (DOH) must declare COVID-19 a public health emergency and implement the HERO Act to reduce the strain on healthcare. In addition to protecting New Yorkers through vaccination, more must be done to prepare our hospitals for another COVID surge. The DOH must take a stronger role in ensuring healthcare facilities meet health and safety protocols that fully recognize airborne transmission, and are safely staffed with enough frontline healthcare workers, especially ICU nurses. They must also ensure hospitals have adequate and accessible Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplies. They should no longer be in a conservation mindset when it comes to PPE.

“Overall, we are seeing a crisis in hospital emergency departments that indicates a general lack of preparedness. The DOH should listen to the frontline this time not just hospital CEO's. Our healthcare workers are exhausted and traumatized. Their voices should be heard - not denied or characterized as vectors of infection- which is exactly what we are trying to avoid. When healthcare workers document what they are experiencing they must be believed. Hospitals must also ensure that new mandates do not contribute to already problematic staffing shortages. We do not want a situation where patient care is compromised because the pool of nurses and other healthcare workers continues to shrink.

“It is our hope that by the time this mandate is in effect, that the vaccines have gained full FDA approval.”

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The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) represents more than 42,000 members in New York State. We are New York’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses. For more information visit nysna.org.

About NYSNA

We are 42,000 nurses working together to win safe staffing, keep hospitals open for care, stop the Wall Street attack on our patients, and win healthcare for all.