A hospital in New York has been forced to shut down its maternity ward after a vaccine mandate prompted more than a dozen staffers to submit their resignations.
According to The Hill, Lewis County General Hospital, located in upstate New York, said some 30 of its employees had quit since the facility stopped allowing a religious exemption to a policy requiring staffers to get vaccinated for COVID-19.
The updated policy still allows staffers at the hospital to provide medical reasons for forgoing the shot. But that hasn’t stopped the resignations from pouring in.
“The number of resignations received leaves us no choice but to pause delivering babies at Lewis County General Hospital,” Lewis County Health System CEO Gerald Cayer said in a statement, adding that the facility cannot “safely staff” its maternity ward, according to The Hill.
The closure will reportedly take effect Sept. 25.
According to The Hill, the hospital first instituted the policy after Andrew Cuomo (D), then New York’s governor, issued a mandate of his own requiring all health care workers in the state to get at least their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine by Sept. 27.
Twenty-one of those who stepped down from the hospital in recent weeks worked in clinical areas, according to Cayer.
At the moment, about 73% of the hospital’s employees are vaccinated for COVID-19, while 165 individuals remain unvaccinated. It remains unclear how many, if any, of these employees will be changing the vaccination status in the coming weeks, though at least some are expected to apply for a medical exemption, The Hill notes.
The big picture
If just 30 people put the maternity ward out of business, one wonders what 100 could do. Looking at the bigger picture, one wonders what millions of resignations could do to impact health care across the country.
The latest developments come after President Joe Biden announced that his administration would move to require businesses with more than 100 employees to mandate vaccines among their workers, in addition to mandating the shots for health care workers who work at facilities that receive federal funding.
In total, it is believed that Biden’s order could impact upwards of 100 million Americans, according to the Associated Press.
Republicans across the country have vowed to fight the orders, as The New York Times notes, but for now, it looks like many Americans may soon be forced to choose between getting vaccinated and keeping their jobs.