President Joe Biden’s newly announced vaccine mandate might backfire on him — big time.
The consequences of this statewide mandate are already being felt at Lewis County General Hospital in Lowville, New York. The hospital just announced “a pause” in delivering babies after staff members in the maternity unit handed in their resignations over the controversial mandate, according to WWNY-TV.
On Friday, Lewis County Health System Chief Executive Officer Gerald Cayer told reporters that 73 percent of the hospital’s 629 employees have been vaccinated and that the mandate had prompted 30 more to get the shot. However, it also led 30 employees to resign.
“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,” Cayer said, according to WWNY.
“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 said. “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.”
New York has the nation’s eighth-highest vaccination rate. As of Sept. 12, nearly 62 percent of the population was fully vaccinated, according to Becker’s Hospital Review.
If the mandate is causing problems in a highly vaccinated state, how much worse will the situation be in states such as Alabama, Wyoming, Idaho and West Virginia that have vaccination rates of 40 percent or less?
In May, the University of St. Augustine published the results of a study of the nationwide shortage of nurses. The report said nursing shortages have occurred “periodically since the early 1900s. Multiple factors led to each shortage, from world wars to economic recessions.”
The current shortage began in 2012, according to the study, long before we’d ever heard about the coronavirus. It projected that “1.2 million new registered nurses will be needed by 2030 to address the current shortage.”
The pandemic, of course, has exacerbated the problem.
“When COVID hit, many people retired or were given an early retirement package. … Now they are so understaffed that they are paying bonuses for people not to call out or use their vacation for the next three months,” nurse Beverly Banez told the university.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last month that the nursing shortage in the state of Georgia had reached “crisis levels.”
“In a state that already had one of the nation’s lowest ratios of nurses to population, job postings for nurses jumped by double-digit percentages in each of its regions in 2020, then jumped again,” the report said. “As of this week [Aug. 20], 11,000 nursing positions across the state sit vacant, according to the nursing job service Vivian. More than 1,700 of those are in intensive care units.”
With about 42 percent of Georgia’s population fully vaccinated, according to Becker’s, the Biden mandate could be devastating there.
WIBW-TV in Kansas reported Friday that the state had just approved $50 million in emergency funding to address a shortage of nurses there. The funds will be used to “either provide premium pay or improve retention of nursing resources and support personnel.”
Less than half of that state’s population is fully vaccinated.
Search any state for shortages, and chances are you’ll find a very recent story about hospitals struggling to fill nursing positions.
The president, once again, has put politics before what is best for America.
News of Biden’s vaccine mandate instantly sucked the air out of every other story on Thursday evening. Knowing how Democrats and this administration operate, it’s not crazy to wonder if the timing of this announcement and perhaps even the initiative itself were intended to distract from the political firestorm he was facing.
The week before he announced the mandate, a Zogby Analytics poll found that one out of every five Biden voters regretted their decision.
And a YouGovAmerica poll released the day before showing Biden with 39 percent approval had to have set off alarm bells inside the West Wing. They needed something big to turn the page.
In a weekend Op-Ed headlined “With Biden Vaccine Plan, Politics Is Fully in Charge,” The Wall Street Journal’s Holman W. Jenkins Jr. wrote that “lumping 75 million unvaccinated Americans into one category is wedge partisanship, not science.”
“Mr. Biden plays on the trained willingness of Democratic media consumers to believe Trump voters are the vaccine resisters, however oddly this sits with public-service ads in blue states trying to coax minority voters and unionized healthcare workers to accept vaccination,” he wrote.
“His approach is wedge politics,” Jenkins said. “It will provoke confrontations with red-state governors and old-school civil libertarians. It will rile up anti-vax nuts, who will be portrayed as ordinary GOPers. It does not faintly resemble any strategy you would adopt if your goal was to improve Covid outcomes quickly and efficiently.
“It’s long past time to stop lying about the Biden administration. The political calendar, with the midterms still a year away and 2024 three years off, is why he wanted a fast-and-dirty Afghan exit while he could still exploit his honeymoon privilege of putting all blame on his predecessors.”
At any rate, the Biden administration and governors who have issued statewide mandates are walking into some pretty treacherous legal territory. Cayer told reporters that Lewis County General Hospital will focus on hiring nurses who are vaccinated.
Is it legal to make “vaccination status” a requirement for the job?
The constitutionality of these mandates will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court. The Biden administration knows that, but just like the extension of the eviction moratorium, it’s thinking about what it can get away with in the meantime.
At a time when hospitals need nurses and other personnel the most, Biden’s vaccine mandate could literally be a life-and-death matter for many people in the hospital.
We already knew his vaccine mandate was disastrous and overreaching, but now it looks like the wider effects on American society are only going to become clearer as we get closer to his deadline.
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