New York mulls hiring Filipino nurses to replace unvaccinated health workers

Published September 26, 2021, 1:33 PM

by Roy Mabasa

New York will be compelled to hire foreign nurses specifically from the Philippines and Ireland to replace unvaccinated health care workers who will continue to defy the state-mandated COVID-19 vaccination. 

NURSE/ MANILA BULLETIN

Gov. Kathy Hochul bared this plan amid the looming deadline that requires New York state health care workers and New York City school employees to receive at least their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on or before its implementation on Monday, Sept. 27. 

The lady governor stood pat on her administration’s decision to replace people who will not abide by the mandate of getting vaccinated, saying they will make an announcement about the plan “very shortly”. 

“We’re also reaching out to the Department of State to find out about visas for foreign workers, on a limited basis, to bring more nurses over here,” Hochul told New York-based reporters last week. 

She said talks are now underway with federal officials to look into possible relaxation of visa requirements to make it easier for medical personnel from the Philippines and other countries to come to New York to work. As of Sept. 15, it was reported that about 19 percent of New York’s hospital workers remained unvaccinated, and 18 percent for workers at nursing homes. 

After the Sept. 27 deadline, employers can fire unvaccinated workers who do not have a “valid medical exemption” for getting the jabs. Although the hiring of foreign nurses may take a little time due to the State Department’s approval process, New York is also looking at the possibility of adjusting its licensing requirements to allow out-of-state health care workers to come in and provide backup. 

Hochul said the looming deadline is still “completely avoidable” if only the remaining unvaccinated workers would comply with the mandate. 

“It would be phenomenally unfair to your coworkers, the people entrusted to your care and all of New Yorkers that we will have our recovery held back by individuals who choose not to get vaccinated,” she was quoted as saying.

 
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