NEW YORK — Governor Kathy Hochul says she plans to address the staffing shortages in hospitals and other health care facilities across the state due to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. 

According to Gov Hochul, “the plan includes preparation of state of emergency declaration to supplement workforce supply at health care facilities.”

This will allow healthcare workers licensed in other states or countries, recent graduates, retired and formerly practicing health care professionals to practice in New York. Hochul said National Guard members who are medically trained will collaborate with Disaster Medical Assistance Teams for additional aid.

Hochul says she plans to work with the federal government and other state officials to determine ways to expedite visa requests for medical professionals who need them.

The Department of Labor says workers who are terminated because of refusal to be vaccinated are not eligible for unemployment insurance unless they have a valid doctor-approved request for medical accommodation. 

New York State is requiring healthcare workers to have at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Monday, September 27. Employees who refuse will be forced to resign.

“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. “I am monitoring the staffing situation closely, and we have a plan to increase our health care workforce and help alleviate the burdens on our hospitals and other health care facilities.”