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Deadline Looming, Thousands of Health Care Workers in New York Get Vaccinated
Though many hospital and nursing home employees remain unvaccinated, officials say worst-case staffing shortages seem less likely.
When New York State officials issued a sweeping coronavirus vaccine mandate for health care workers in August, they expressed confidence that it would pressure reluctant doctors, nurses and support staff to get the shot.
On Monday, as the deadline for vaccinations for about 600,000 nursing home and hospital workers arrived, it seemed that bet had proved to be at least partially correct.
With just days or even hours to spare, thousands of health care workers got inoculated, according to health officials across the state. And while thousands more workers remained unvaccinated, and thus in danger of being suspended or fired, the rush of last-minute vaccinations appeared to blunt the worst-case scenarios for staffing shortages that some institutions had feared.
In the New York City public hospital system, more than 8,000 workers were unvaccinated a week ago. But by Monday morning, that number had dropped to 5,000 — or just over 10 percent of the work force. Although those unvaccinated employees were not permitted to work, city officials said they felt they could manage the gaps.