New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) is reportedly considering her “options” following a judge’s decision to strike down the coronavirus vaccine mandate on healthcare workers.
The New York Supreme Court Justice Gerard Neri this month concluded that the Empire State exceeded its authority by mandating the Chinese coronavirus vaccine on healthcare workers, deeming the rule “null, void and of no effect.” New York’s Department of Health disagreed with the decision, deeming vaccines — which do not prevent transmission of the virus, nor do they prevent one from contracting the virus — “a critical public health tool.”
The department added that it is “exploring its options” in response to the judge’s ruling.
News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke confronted Hochul on this issue, citing the massive staff shortages the state is facing in the healthcare sector due to the previous mandate.
“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?” she asked the governor, who touted a similar line as the DOH, asserting that the agency is still “considering all our options.”
“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,” she said, seemingly attempting to dismiss the mounting concerns over the staff shortages hospitals are facing across her state.
“$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,” she said, failing to mention that the vaccines do not prevent the spread of the respiratory illness.
“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,” she said, appearing to repeat misinformation touted by President Biden in December 2021, who falsely suggested that vaccinated individuals did not spread the virus.
The news comes as New York lawmakers, including Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), demand Hochul finally concede, pointing directly to the staffing crisis.
“The evidence is clear: the staffing shortage affecting New York’s healthcare sector is a crisis and must be addressed,” they wrote in a letter to the governor, noting that as of December 7, 2022, there were 9,300 job openings for nurses alone.
“Our communities and hospitals need your support, not your burdensome mandates, as they continue to operate under historic staffing shortages,” they added.