Lenox Hill Hospital
Lenox Hill Hospital/Northwell Health

NO JAB, NO JOB: Northwell Health Begins Firing Unvaccinated Workers

MANHATTAN – Twenty-four hours after the deadline passed to meet New York State’s vaccination mandate requiring health care workers to receive at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, Northwell Health has begun firing unvaccinated workers— starting with two dozen employees in leadership positions.

Northwell Health— owners of Lenox Hill Hospital on the Upper East Side—  says it’s now expanding the layoffs to the rest of its unvaccinated staff— a number that was in the hundreds as of last week. Though, the health system says the terminations of unvaccinated employees won’t impact the level of care their patients receive.

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“Northwell wants to reassure the public that during this time there will be no impact to the quality of patient care at any of our facilities. We are proud that our workforce is already nearly 100 percent vaccinated,” the company said in a statement to Upper East Site.

We checked with the other major health systems operating hospitals within and bordering the Upper East Side— here’s where they stand:

The Hospital for Special Surgery says as of Monday night its staff was 99.6% vaccinated with at least one dose— the other 0.04% of HSS staff was immediately suspended and has until October 11th to get the shot or be fired. 

Mount Sinai is also expecting layoffs as a result of the mandate, telling Upper East Site in a statement: 

“We anticipate less than 1% [of staff] leave us because of unwillingness to be vaccinated. We strongly believe that this vaccine mandate is in the best interest of our Mount Sinai colleagues and patients.”

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Unvaccinated employees of New York City Health + Hospitals, which operates Metropolitan Hospital on East 97th Street, were put on unpaid leave. Suspended staffers can return to work once vaccinated, but won’t be fired if they don’t— they’ll remain on unpaid leave. 

Governor Hochul signed an executive order Monday to help prevent any health care worker shortfalls due to the vaccination mandate allowing out-of-state licensed health care workers to practice in New York and making it easier to retirees to practice once again. 

The New York National Guard’s medically-trained members could also be deployed to backfill if there is a worker shortage— but none of the health systems that spoke to Upper East Site indicated that would be necessary.

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