Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State of New York have issued warnings to hospitals about giving vaccines to elderly people before they finish fully vaccinating members of their own staff. These warnings have come after learnings of staff members feeling the need to treat their elderly patients before themselves, simply out of the goodness of their hearts.
This hesitance from workers is fairly common throughout hospitals across the United States, although not backed by any real proof. Larry Schwartz, Cuomo’s advisor, said in an email that hospitals risk the health of others by not fully vaccinating their own workers first. Schwartz has gone on to say that this was not intended as a threat, but more as guidance to those who might be wanting to vaccinate others before themselves.
This memo was alarming for many New York hospitals due to the sheer number of people and capacity limits that they have. These workers fear that they will not have enough vaccines to fully protect both themselves and their elderly patients, who might be more at risk to COVID-19. Recently, Cuomo stated that he expects hospitals to reach a level where 75% of workers are fully vaccinated.
While this is more than just a state or personal issue, it seems as though the message is clear that Americans as a whole will benefit from having front line workers fully vaccinated before other members of society are treated. This issue also does not address the fact that hospital workers are allowed to deny getting the vaccine in the first place.