Feb 12, 2021
NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD today supported labor union partners from 1199SEIU, the New York State Nurses Association, and the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York to further encourage staff to get their COVID-19 vaccine. Labor partners encouraged their members to get their COVID-19 vaccine through a series of short videos, like this and this, explaining the benefits, safety, and efficacy of the vaccine. This effort builds on the public health system’s ongoing efforts to get its diverse workforce vaccinated against COVID-19. These three unions together represent more than 11,500 NYC Health + Hospitals employees. To date, tens of thousands of public hospital employees have received at least one dose of their COVID-19 vaccine.
Dr. Katz’s renewed call-to-action comes after Governor Cuomo’s announcement that hospitals in New York will be given one last week to prioritize workers and, then, the State could shift doses for health system employees to the newly eligible groups for vaccine. While vaccines will continue to be available to all NYC Health + Hospitals employees, supplies will remain limited and there will be a growing population of New Yorkers eligible to receive the vaccine.
“Our diverse, unionized workforce is represented by committed labor leaders who care deeply about their members, our employees and our city. We are proud to partner with them and share their influential voices to support our efforts to encourage our heroic staff, to get their COVID-19 vaccine,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “We will continue doing everything we can to educate and encourage our staff to get their COVID-19 vaccine, as a commitment to their safety and wellbeing during this horrible pandemic. We will also continue to meet our staff members where they feel most comfortable, recognize that hesitancy is real even among health care workers, and continue this important dialogue as we vaccinate more and more of our colleagues.”
“1199SEIU healthcare workers have been our first line of defense against COVID-19, serving on the front lines of this war for the last year,” said President of 1199SEIU George Gresham. “They have selflessly sacrificed and fought day in and day out to protect their patients from this deadly pandemic, while also fighting to protect their loved ones and themselves. We believe that these vaccines are critical tools to help us move forward past COVID-19, and back to being able to safely spend time with their loved ones. 1199 has and will continue to urge our members and the public to get vaccinated, so we can move beyond the pandemic and get back to the work of building a healthier New York City that works for all of us.”
“For nearly a year, our city and our lives have been upended by a terrible virus. Fortunately, thanks to vaccines that are now available, there is light at the end of the tunnel,” said Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. “From the bottom of my heart, I encourage all New Yorkers and all members of the building trades to get vaccinated as soon as possible – there is too much to lose and too much at stake to do otherwise. We’re grateful for everything our members have done to help build New York out of this crisis, and now with the progress that’s been achieved in getting New Yorkers vaccinated, we’re that much closer to finally turning the corner on this crisis to better days.”
“The nurses of the New York State Nurses Association came to work every day, knowing full well that a deadly, infectious virus was there. They worked long hours alongside other healthcare workers in the public system to give each and every patient the care they needed. Nurses helped save tens of thousands of patients. The battle with COVID-19 goes on. It is in that spirit of giving our all in a continuing effort that we endorse the call to participation in the vaccination program underway at the NYC Health + Hospitals facilities. The vaccination is essential to protect the nurses, as well as patients and their families – all who we care for. Vaccination is part of a roadmap that takes us to a safe place where we can once again participate fully in our communities without fear,” said NYSNA Board Member Judith Cutchin, RN.
NYC Health + Hospitals began offering COVID-19 vaccines to its workforce in December 2020, and since has invited residents, patients, non-affiliate community providers, essential workers, and eligible New Yorkers to get their vaccine at its hospitals, community-based health centers and the mass vaccination sites managed by the health system’s Test & Trace Corps. The health system’s employee vaccination campaign includes a number of strategies, including leadership rounds to units at hospitals to help answer questions, employee town halls, video testimonials from employees who got vaccinated, and a weekly webinar series to help address new information regarding COVID-19 and debunk myths associated with the vaccine. In addition, the system launched a #NYCVaxChamp campaign to help highlight colleagues who want to share their experience and motivation for getting vaccinated.
NYSNA provides the health system with a wide-range of nurse professionals. 1199SEIU members represent various professionals, such as lab workers, clerks, transporters, and dietary workers; while Building and Construction Trades Council represents electricians, engineers, carpenters and more staff that help keep the public health system in quality conditions for our patients.
All NYC Health + Hospitals staff members can make their appointment by using the system’s COVID-19 vaccine scheduler, or by visiting nyc.gov/covidvaccine. Staff can be vaccinated while at work or they can schedule time when they are off.