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New York Hospital to Pause Delivering Babies After Unvaccinated Workers Resign En Masse

Maternity unit workers at Lewis County General Hospital in Lowville resigned rather than get vaccinated against covid-19.

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Image for article titled New York Hospital to Pause Delivering Babies After Unvaccinated Workers Resign En Masse
Photo: Karen Ducey (Getty Images)

A hospital in New York has announced that it will temporarily stop delivering babies following many resignations from maternity unit workers who refuse to get vaccinated against covid-19.

Six employees at Lewis County General Hospital in Lowville, about 50 miles north of Utica, resigned in recent days, WWNY 7 News reports. Their resignations, along with more than two dozen back in August following the state’s announcement that all healthcare workers in New York must receive at least one dose of a vaccine by Sept. 27, have left the maternity unit unable to function. The hospital’s pause on delivering babies will last two weeks starting Sept. 24.

“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,” Gerald Cayer, the Lewis County Health System’s Chief Executive Officer, told WWNY 7 News.

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“Our hope is as we get closer [to the deadline], the numbers will increase of individuals who are vaccinated, fewer individuals will leave and maybe, with a little luck, some of those who have resigned will reconsider,” he continued. “We are not alone. There are thousands of positions that are open north of the Thruway and now we have a challenge to work through, you know, with the vaccination mandate.”

About one in four hospital workers who work in direct contact with patients had not yet received a single dose of a covid vaccine by the end of May, Insider reports. At long-term-care facilities, those numbers are even more concerning: Nearly half of all aids were still unvaccinated, as were just over half of all nurses. 

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“You just get tired of this after a while,” Dr. Paul Offit, the director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said in an interview with Insider. “You shouldn’t have to convince people who work around a vulnerable population of hospitalized patients that part of that means that you don’t get to catch and transmit a potentially fatal infection.”