A New York-based hospital has announced that it will stop delivering babies this month after many of its nursing department staff quit over the facility’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, online news media the Washington Post reported on Sunday.
“The number of resignations received leaves us no choice but to pause delivering babies at Lewis County General Hospital,” said the hospital’s chief executive Gerald Cayer at a news conference on Friday.
At least six maternity staffers, all unvaccinated, have resigned while seven others still have not decided whether they should get the vaccine or not, Cayer said.
Due to this, the hospital will be “unable to safely staff” its maternity department as of September 25, he added, two days before the state’s deadline for healthcare staff to be vaccinated.
“It is my hope that the [New York State] Department of Health will work with us in pausing the service rather than closing the maternity department.”
Around 27 percent of the hospital’s workforce, amounting around 165 staff, have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 and 73 percent of them provide clinical services at the facility.
The hospital’s announcement comes as the pressure ramps up on healthcare workers to get vaccinated in order to help hospitals cope with unvaccinated patients. As of Sunday, over 97,000 people in the US were in hospital due to COVID-19 infections. More than a quarter of these patients were in the ICU, according to the Washington Post.