Local Matters

Recent comments

Community Sponsors

September 15, 2021 - 6:49pm

Legislative committee passes measure opposing state's vaccine mandate for healthcare workers

posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, County Legislature, Ways & Means, Kathy Hochul.

The Genesee County Legislature’s Ways & Means Committee this afternoon responded to a call from the New York State Association of Counties to oppose Gov. Kathy Hochul’s order forcing all healthcare workers to be vaccinated by Sept. 27 or risk losing their jobs.

The committee passed a resolution urging Hochul and new Health Commissioner Ann Marie T. Sullivan to modify the COVID-19 mandate by providing options such as regular testing for those opting to not take the vaccine at this time. It will be presented to the entire legislature at next Wednesday’s meeting.

“This came as a result of the letter that was sent from the nine counties in the Finger Lakes Region (expressing) our concern in regards to the healthcare crisis that is facing us on September 27th,” Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein said. “It was delivered to the NYSAC folks, and they sent a letter immediately but they’re asking for counties to please send resolutions urging the same.”

Ways & Means Committee Chair Marianne Clattenburg echoed Stein’s thoughts, stating that “there will be a crisis in healthcare if all of these people who are not vaccinated are forced to resign their positions without any kind of alternative testing options.”

Stein pointed out that many healthcare facilities are closing departments as workers have already decided to quit.

“Just this week, Lewis County shut down – their hospital shut down their maternity ward, St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany is shutting down a whole wing and Wyoming County Hospital’s nursing home is looking at 50-plus people resigning over the vaccine mandate,” she said. “And the result is going to be overwhelmed hospitals and we’re going to be in a worse position than we were last March, April and May in New York State.”

Clattenburg said that the committee is encouraging other options, such as twice-a-week testing and masking -- “everything we’ve been doing in order to keep our healthcare workers working.”

Stein agreed, noting that while “everyone is encouraged to take their vaccine as a preventive … those who are not, this would at least give them an opportunity to continue in the care for our communities.”

On Aug. 28, New York 28 issued the order requiring healthcare workers in hospitals and nursing homes to get at least their first vaccine shot by Sept. 27. On Tuesday, a federal judge in Utica temporarily blocked the state from forcing medical workers to be vaccinated, following a lawsuit by 17 healthcare workers, who contend that not allowing religious exemptions to the mandate violated their Constitutional rights.

The state has until Sept. 22 to respond, and if it opposes the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary court order blocking the vaccine mandate, an oral hearing will take place on Sept. 28.

The Genesee County resolution stipulates that copies be sent to Hochul, Sullivan, State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay and Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt.

In a related development, about two dozen people -- mostly healthcare workers -- gathered at the Main and Ellicott in downtown Batavia around 6 p.m. yesterday, holding signs stating "Coercion is Not Consent" and "If it's Forced, Are we Free?" and protesting what they proclaimed is a loss of freedom. The protesters found support for their cause by passers-by honking horns and giving thumbs up.

Copyright © 2008-2022 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
 

blue button

News Break