Gov. Kathy Hochul defended her mandate for state health care worker vaccinations Thursday morning, saying it was the right thing to do and that her position would not change.
The deadline for workers to be vaccinated or risk losing their jobs was Monday. The governor said that 92% of statewide hospital workers were vaccinated by the deadline.
Hochul says health care leaders in hospitals, unions have had "universal support" for the vaccine mandate.— Nick Reisman (@NickReisman) September 30, 2021
"This is not something we will deviate from," she says.
"It's hard to force people to do something that you wish they would do voluntarily," the governor said, later thanking everyone who, as she said, "did the right thing."
"We're gonna continue monitoring this," Hochul continued, adding that no National Guard members were deployed as a result of staffing shortages due to the mandate. The governor noted that the state had enough retired nurses and nursing students to fill any gaps.
Hochul didn't have exact numbers on how many people were deployed to replace those who left their jobs due to the mandate, nor did she have a "hard number" on the number of people who were dismissed due to lack of vaccination.
Hochul focused on one vaccination statistic she found concerning: just 66.3% of New Yorkers aged 12-17 have received at least one shot statewide.
"I'm not sure what other argument I can make to the parents of these 12- to 17-year-olds other than what are you waiting for?" Hochul said. "I beseech these parents to do what's right for their kids and not let them be one of those children who ends up in a serious condition in a hospital."
Statewide, 83.9% of people 18 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
"We're still in a good place," Hochul said.
.@GovKathyHochul says she is “confident” that the state is going to win the court case that would allow for people claiming a religious exemption to opt out of the COVID vaccine mandate— Morgan Mckay (@morganfmckay) September 30, 2021
The governor noted that just 0.07% of those hospitalized for COVID-19 statewide are fully vaccinated. There have also been more than 200,000 booster shots administered statewide.