New York State Braces For A Potential Medical Staffing Crisis

Health care workers in the state of New York will now need to get vaccinated or face suspension or even termination.

New York State Braces For A Potential Medical Staffing Crisis
Seth Wenig / AP

One in six hospital workers and about 16% of the entire medical workforce in New York state are still unvaccinated.  

New York's governor is ready to deploy the National Guard and declare a state of emergency to allow health care professionals licensed outside of New York, as well as recent graduates and retired medical workers, to practice in the state. 

Some, like New York City physician Dr. Mauricio Gonzalez, believe it's the "right thing to do," saying, "We are privileged enough to care for sick people, and we cannot afford to become vehicles of infections for our patients." 

Upstate, some doctors are more cautious about the mandate. 

They question the governor's plan to deploy medically trained guard members and federal disaster medical assistance teams. 

The vaccine order permits limited medical exemptions. For instance, in some hospitals, those who are allergic to vaccine components are exempted. 

It does not offer an exemption for religious beliefs. But several lawsuits have challenged the state's stance.  

Questions remain about how fast hospitals will move to fire unvaccinated employees as the state starts enforcing this vaccine mandate. 

What they do will be watched closely by staff in home care, hospice and adult care facilities who must be vaccinated by Oct. 7.