CDC Director: Loss of Unvaccinated Healthcare Workers Is a ‘Challenge’

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky said COVID-19 vaccine mandates for healthcare workers will likely create staff shortages around the United States, coming as some hospital CEOs have issued warnings.

“We have seen that these vaccine mandates get more people vaccinated,” Walensky said during a “Good Morning America” appearance on Monday. “It absolutely creates a challenge. What I would say is [we need] to do some work … to understand where their hesitancy is so we can get them vaccinated and get them back to work,” she said.

In New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a Saturday statement that she may direct the state’s National Guard to replace healthcare workers who resign or are terminated due to the state’s vaccine mandate. The governor also floated the idea of using out-of-state nurses, accredited healthcare workers from other countries, or tapping retired nurses who were vaccinated to replace them.

During her interview Monday, Walensky acknowledged that staff shortages “absolutely” create “a challenge” and didn’t offer a definitive plan to address the potential shortfall of healthcare workers.

“What I would say is [we need] to do some work, to educate these healthcare workers,” she added, “to meet them where they are, to understand where their hesitancy is so we can get them vaccinated and get them back to work.”

The deadline for New York state’s healthcare workers to receive the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus vaccine is Monday, Sept. 27. According to the governor’s office, about 16 percent of the state’s medical workers have not received the vaccine.

Earlier this month, Lewis County Health System Chief Executive Officer Gerald Cayer said the Lewis County General Hospital in Lowville will not have the capacity to deliver babies in the near future after six employees at the firm’s maternity ward resigned instead of taking the vaccine.

“If we can pause the service and now focus on recruiting nurses who are vaccinated, we will be able to reengage in delivering babies here in Lewis County,” Cayer said at a news conference on Sept. 10.

A federal judge on Sept. 14 temporarily suspended the statewide vaccination mandate for healthcare workers after a group of healthcare workers filed a lawsuit against the state, arguing that their Constitutional rights were violated because religious exemptions were not allowed.

Last week, 10 individual state hospital security officers filed a lawsuit against Hochul, Heath Commissioner Howard Zucker, and the New York State Health Department and are seeking to partake in regular COVID-19 testing instead of being forced to receive the vaccine.

Jack Phillips

Jack Phillips

Senior Reporter

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Jack Phillips is a reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.

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