Employees at Northwell Health, one of the largest hospital systems in New York state, have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, ABC News reported.
Representatives from Northwell health shared in a statement that all of the company’s 76,000 employees that work across their “23 hospitals and more than 830 outpatient facilities” have received the vaccine.
The big move came after Northwell Health was forced to let go of nearly 1400 employees who refused to receive the vaccine in time of the city’s mandate deadline, which for many was on Sept. 27.
The company released a statement following the decision that read:
“Northwell regrets losing any employee under such circumstances, but as health care professionals and members of the largest health care provider in the state, we understand our unique responsibility to protect the health of our patients and each other,” the hospital said. “We owe it to our staff, our patients, and the communities we serve to be 100% vaccinated against COVID-19.”
Northwell Health operates a number of hospitals in the New York City area including Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, Long Island Jewish, and LIJ Forest Hills in Queens and Staten Island University Hospital.
The vaccine mandate for medical workers has been challenged by a number of healthcare employees across the state.
Back in September, six employees from Lewis County General Hospital’s Maternity unit in Lowville, New York, resigned after they argued that they would rather quit than take the vaccine. Gerald Cayer, who is the county health system’s CEO, said that out of the hospital’s 165 staffers, 27 percent remain unvaccinated. The hospital temporarily shut down its maternity unit in response to the large gap in unvaccinated employees citing health and safety concerns.
Similarly, a group of 10 guards who work at the SUNY Downstate Hospital in Brooklyn, slammed the facility in September with a lawsuit to demand weekly coronavirus testing in lieu of getting vaccinated, the New York Post reported. The guards argued that they could potentially receive negative side effects from the vaccine and that the mandate was in violation of their 14th Amendment rights to “refuse unwanted medical treatment.” The court order also pushed for the protection of their employment during the suit.
While the vaccine is being widely contested by medical workers, many patients are demanding that employees get inoculated against the virus, especially when treating high-risk groups like the elderly. A few social media goers argued in favor of the vaccine mandate on Twitter after R&B star T-Pain took to the platform to reveal that his grandmother had been hospitalized for COVID-19 after she contracted the disease from her nurse.
“Bro…… my 97 year old grandma….. is in the hospital alone… with Covid…… that she got……. FROM HER FUCKIN NURSE!!!! Wtf is wrong with ppl man?! Pls yall. Just explain it to me! Just help us end this shit pls ppl,” he tweeted.
Fans of the star flocked to his comments section to chime in on the discourse, with one person commenting:
“Maybe New York had the right idea after all.”
While another person commented:
“If you’re in the medical field and don’t want the vaccine or don’t want to wear proper PPE, you deserve to lose your job.” It’s unclear as to whether the nurse was unvaccinated.
According to The New York Times, more than “92 percent” of New York’s 650,000 hospital and nursing home workers had received at least one vaccine dose as the mandate went into full effect on Sept. 27. While the unforeseen layoffs are unfortunate, New York’s stringent push for widespread vaccination amongst medical workers could save the lives of patients who are in desperate need of care, especially as the Delta Variant continues to surge across the U.S.