Northwell Fires Unvaccinated Nurses

On Tuesday, Sept. 28, Northwell Health began the process of terminating unvaccinated workers who failed to comply with the state mandate to get their first COVID-19 vaccine dose by September 27. 

“We have begun a process to exit all unvaccinated team members using a carefully planned approach. (The approach) maintains continuity of care at all of our facilities and ensures the safety of all of our patients,” said Jason Molinet, senior director of media relations for Northwell Health.

Molinet said Northwell regrets losing any employee under such circumstances. Yet, it understands its unique responsibility to protect the health of patients and other staff. 

“We owe it to our staff, our patients and the communities we serve to be 100 percent vaccinated against COVID-19,” said Molinet. 

The state’s recent deadline prompted thousands of workers to get their first vaccine dose in the last week of September. The percentage of nursing home workers and hospital workers who had gotten their first shot jumped 10 percent, up to 92 percent since September 23. 

On September 27, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed Executive Order No. 4, which expands the eligible workforce of healthcare workers to avoid staffing shortages. 

The executive order allows more healthcare professionals to practice in the state, including out-of-state doctors and nurses and New York state-licensed providers without current registrations. Further, the order enables basic EMTs to vaccinate and test for COVID-19. 

Gov. Hochul also used the day to direct a 24/7 Operations Center led by the state health department. The center monitors staffing operations and trends, guides healthcare facilities, and troubleshoot acute situations with providers. In addition, Gov. Hochul remains engaged with health care organizations to offer state assistance if there are staffing shortages. 

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