BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — All healthcare workers in New York are required to have at least the first dose of the vaccine by Sept. 27. Healthcare workers protested in downtown Buffalo on Wednesday to end this statewide healthcare worker vaccine mandate.
Western New York nurse, Sarah, who did not want to say her last name, said it’s her choice if she gets vaccinated.
“When I first went into working in the ICU, I was scared. I came out...unafraid,” Sarah said.
Despite medical evidence that the vaccine prevents death and serious illness from the coronavirus, the protesters said otherwise.
“The sacrifices health care workers had to make last year. Last year, we were essential. Now, we’re expendable,” Sarah said. “You could not get any closer than nurses were to COVID patients, and I came out untouched by COVID.”
Politicians, County Health Departments, and healthcare workers are voicing their concerns that this vaccination mandate can cause a healthcare worker shortage.
“I understand the ramifications, and it’s something I’m willing to give up for my own personal freedoms,” Sarah said.
Ten New York County Health Departments including Orleans, Genesee, and Wyoming County wrote a letter to Governor Hochul to discuss the “unintended consequences of the vaccine mandate.”
The letter states the counties are already seeing mass resignations in local hospitals and nursing homes, and they fear hospitals will have to start turning people away.
New York Assembly Republicans wrote a similar letter to Governor Hochul.
“I’m very concerned for health care workers and the patients that they treat,” Assemblyman Stephen Hawley, said. “In rural areas, like where I represent between Buffalo and Rochester, we already have a shortage of healthcare facilities.”
Both letters ask Governor Hochul to allow health care workers to be able to get tested weekly as an alternative to getting the vaccine.