ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — New York Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy held a press conference at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester Wednesday afternoon where he criticized the state’s vaccine mandate for health care workers.

The vaccine mandate went into effect Monday, despite a legal battle over religious exemptions still playing out in the courts.

“We are in a health care crisis and it was created directly by Kathy Hochul,” Langworthy said. “This is a manufactured crisis that was completely preventable. Hochul’s vaccine mandate is impractical, nonsensible, and it is crippling our state’s health care system.”

Langworthy called on the governor to rescind the mandate, and allow employees to regularly test for COVID-19 instead.

According to the GOP chairman, the mandate is “impractical and ill-advised.” He says it is creating a health care staffing shortage “crisis” across the state, but as of Wednesday, the governor said no health care facilities have been forced to close throughout New York since the mandate took effect.

In New York, 87% of hospital staff are fully vaccinated as of Wednesday, Sept. 29 according to latest data.

“Our greatest responsibility is to protect our most vulnerable, and ensuring that the health care workers who care for our loved ones are vaccinated is critical to keeping New Yorkers safe,” Gov. Hochul said. “I am grateful to the facilities, unions, and health care workers who took important steps to prepare and protect New Yorkers, and we are working with facilities to ensure they remain operational.

Amount of New York healthcare workers in compliance with the mandate:

  • The percentage of nursing home staff receiving at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose is 92%.
  • The percentage of adult care facilities staff receiving at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose is 89%.
  • The percentage of hospital staff receiving at least one dose is 92%.

Additionally, this week Gov. Hochul declared a state of emergency to deal potential health care staffing shortages. The order makes it easier for retired workers to get certified for employment and allows international medical experts to practice in New York hospitals.

Combining 2% of their employees exempt from the mandate due to religious and medical reasons, University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) reported 97.5% of their clinical staff are eligible to stay employed, while Rochester Regional Health (RRH) sits at 99% workers with at least one vaccine dose. 

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.