NY Hospital to Stop Delivering Babies After Employees Quit Over Vaccine Mandate
A hospital in upstate New York said it will have to stop delivering babies temporarily after six employees in its maternity unit resigned instead of getting vaccinated for COVID-19.
While Lewis County General Hospital in Lowville will pause delivering babies after September 24, hospital officials said they will work with the state’s Department of Health to make sure the maternity unit doesn’t close permanently, according to television station WWNY.
“If we can pause the service and now focus on recruiting nurses who are vaccinated, we will be able to reengage in delivering babies here in Lewis County,” Lewis County Health System Chief Executive Officer Gerald Cayer said at a news conference Friday.
In August, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that all healthcare workers in the state—including staff at hospitals and long-term care facilities—must receive their first COVID-19 vaccination dose by September 27.
Cayer said that following the announcement, 30 hospital workers got vaccinated, while 30 resigned. He noted that while six employees in the maternity unit had resigned over the vaccine mandate, an additional seven are undecided about it.
In total, 165 hospital employees have yet to be vaccinated against COVID-19 — that’s 27 percent of the workforce.
“Our hope is as we get closer (to the deadline), the numbers will increase of individuals who are vaccinated, fewer individuals will leave and maybe, with a little luck, some of those who have resigned will reconsider,” Cayer said.
“We are not alone. There are thousands of positions that are open north of the Thruway and now we have a challenge to work through, you know, with the vaccination mandate,” he added.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden unveiled sweeping vaccine mandates that could apply to more than 100 million people, including all health care workers.
“If you’re seeking care at a health facility, you should be able to know that the people treating you are vaccinated. Simple. Straightforward. Period,” Biden said.
Biden said the new federal mandate would apply to a total of 17 million health care employees who work in hospitals, home healthcare facilities, or other medical facilities.
Hospital workers around the country, including in California, Texas and Mississippi, have protested recent vaccine mandates.
In June, dozens of employees at the Houston Methodist hospital in Texas walked out of their shifts to protest the health system’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement. Ashton Handley, a worker who resigned a few weeks before the protest, said she believes getting the vaccine is a choice.
“I’m not on either side, I’m not anti-vaxxer, I’ve received my vaccine, but I believe it should be someone’s choice,” she told Houston’s FOX 26 at the time.