Vaccination deadline nears for health care workers

[anvplayer video=”5060255″ station=”998127″]

SANTA FE, N.M. – Time is running out for health care workers to get vaccinated. Last month, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued a public health order requiring those workers be fully vaccinated.

Some hospital workers did not want to be forced to get vaccinated, but that didn’t change the requirement.

“Many people have put people on administrative leave or letting them spend down their vacation, what we’ve seen in other settings and across the United States and here is that at the very last minute people line up for their initial shot,” said Dr. Scrase, acting secretary for the New Mexico Department of Health.

Hospitals are reporting to NMDOH as of this week:

  • 88% of hospital workers are fully vaccinated
  • 7% have approved medical or religious exemptions
  • 4% are partially vaccinated
  • 1% of hospital workers remain unvaccinated.

“A 1% impact on health care workers in our state would mean that all the other health care workers would have to work 1% harder. They’re already working as hard as they can, so I think it’s a big deal,” said Scrase.

A public service announcement was posted by New Mexico Nurse Practitioner Council Wednesday that explained a nursing shortage has become a major threat to public health. Fewer nurses mean there’s no one there for patients.

NMDOH officials said the risk of losing staff to this requirement is not as risky as losing them to COVID-19.

“Somebody has calculated that you can lose as many or more health care workers by just not having them vaccinated at all, since that percentage was previously 30%.”