Health

Government officials to reconsider COVID-19 vaccine mandate

On Monday, Republicans in the New York state Senate asked for a reevaluation of the COVID-19 vaccine requirements for essential employees. This comes at the same time that federal health officials are recommending modified rules more than two years into the pandemic.

In a letter that was sent by the Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt, Republican members of the chamber referred to the efforts made by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to modify the COVID-19 rules as a “long overdue” attempt to return to normality since the beginning of the public health crisis.

However, at the same time, the lawmakers drew attention to the effect that COVID vaccination regulations would have on a broad range of essential employees. Since the year 2020, several different sectors, including the healthcare sector, have been having trouble retaining staff.

“We continue to face shortages in the fields that are critical to our residents’ well-being, including our law enforcement, firefighters, teachers and healthcare workers,” the lawmakers wrote. “We are sure we can all agree that we must do everything we can to advocate for these essential workers.”

Vaccination regulations for healthcare employees have been upheld under court challenges. And state health and government officials have said that there are many reasons why health care workers leave their jobs, such as burnout from the pandemic and the requirement to get vaccinated.

This month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidelines that shorten the time that people who have tested positive for COVID-19 have to stay in isolation. The guidelines also remove the recommendation that people who have been exposed to COVID, even if they have been vaccinated, should stay in isolation.

“We strongly urge your partnered advocacy in standing up for our displaced healthcare workers following the easing of CDC guidelines,” the lawmakers wrote. “We will continue to advocate for reevaluation of this mandate here in New York as the Governor moves forward with an assessment of the State’s COVID-19 response and urge you to do the same at the federal level.”

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