By Andrew Harris
The decision to require all state healthcare workers to be vaccinated for face termination was an controversy on many levels. New York State appears to have abandoned the effort to require a third Covid-19 vaccine citing, “workforce concerns.”
At face value, most healthcare facilities lost about ten percent of the workforce and they were already under-staffed. The decision was implemented just before the “Omicron” variant of Covid-19 swept the nation causing a temporary capacity crisis.
Many public policies were guided by the capacity of the local healthcare system. Due to the staffing shortages, hospital capacity was diminished to the point where facilities limited the number of beds available. As we realized another surge, communities reacted to the lack of capacity with public policy decisions. The mandate was intended to make healthcare facilities safer and less impacted by infection among staff. In reality, it only diminished the staffing levels and in some cases made the facilities less safe for patients and staff.
With “Omicron” in the rear-view mirror, and faced with losing even more healthcare staff over a booster mandate, NYS has officially cancelled that policy. How that decisions will impact the multiple court challenges to the original vaccine mandate remains unclear.