Tens of thousands of New York health care workers could lose jobs as soon as today over vaccine

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Tens of thousands of health care workers across New York state could lose their jobs as soon as today, the state-imposed deadline for them to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

All at hospitals and nursing homes are required to have at least one dose under the mandate issued last month by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

At least 8,700 nursing home workers chose to get the vaccine to avoid losing their jobs, state data showed. The percentage of nursing home staff receiving at least one dose of COVID-19 increased to 89% as of Sunday, up from 83% on Wednesday.

Still, that means about 16,000 of the 145,000 total nursing home workers statewide had yet to comply with the vaccine mandate.

As for hospitals, the number of workers who waited to the 11th hour to comply with the vaccine mandate remains unclear, as the state-run database tracking the effort has not been updated since Wednesday.

Hospitals reported 84% of their roughly 450,000 workers were vaccinated as of last week. That left the future employment of about 72,000 hospital workers unclear. The state Labor Department said those who lose their jobs won't be eligible for unemployment benefits in most cases.

Gov. Kathy Hochul says she is considering plans to declare a state of emergency, bring in the National Guard and hire workers from others states and countries if staffing issues become dangerously low. "We are still in a battle against COVID to protect our loved ones, and we need to fight with every tool at our disposal," Hochul said in a statement.

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