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The New York State Nurses Association - New York’s Largest Union & Professional Organization For Registered Nurses, Releases An Updated Position Statement On The COVID-19 Vaccine

Published Friday, July 23, 2021
by NYSNA News
The New York State Nurses Association - New York’s Largest Union & Professional Organization For Registered Nurses, Releases An Updated Position Statement On The COVID-19 Vaccine

(ALBANY, NEW YORK) - The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) - the state’s largest Union and Professional Organization for Registered Nurses (RNs), representing more than 42,000 Members across New York, has released an updated position statement to emphasize that NYSNA supports the recommendation that everyone be vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, the Coronavirus that causes COVID-19 in a just, fair and equitable manner.

As such, NYSNA releases the following statement:

Vaccines play a vital role in public health and a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine will, at a minimum, decrease the number of people experiencing severe effects of the virus and save countless lives - but as Nurses, we know, when it comes to health care decisions, force always comes at the expense of trust.

Vaccination is an important piece of the puzzle in ending the COVID-19 Pandemic, but it is not the only piece.

The most effective method to control an infectious pathogen - any infectious pathogen - is a multi-pronged approach.

Based on our front-line experience battling the pandemic for more than a year, NYSNA Members believe we must focus on education and vaccination in underserved and under-vaccinated communities, limiting everyone’s exposure by wearing well-fitting masks, maintaining social distancing, and improving ventilation in all workplaces and indoor spaces.

It is no surprise that there are spikes in COVID-19 cases at the exact moment most state and municipal guidelines on masking and social gathering were relaxed.

This clearly illustrates the point that a vaccine-only strategy will continue to threaten public health.

A recent survey of our Members, conducted from June to July, found several on-going health and safety issues at New York healthcare facilities: Nearly 75% of respondents reported that PPE was not back to conventional guideline; Nearly half don’t think patient cohorting was done properly; Of the 35% who reported being infected with COVID, more than half were pressured to return to work early, and more than 56% still suffering symptoms more than two months after infection: Over 93% said pandemic working conditions had some or major impact on mental health; 83% of respondents are vaccinated; and More than 75% believe that government authorities, including the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and OSHA (U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration), did not adequately protect them.

Health and safety risks at health care facilities must be prioritized in tandem with vaccination drives.

Health care employers must put the lessons learned fighting this pandemic from the frontlines into practice to decrease the risk of repeated COVID-19 outbreaks.

We object to employers pushing mandatory Employee vaccination while simultaneously lobbying to relax PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) standards, frivolously contesting COVID-19 Workers compensation claims and OSHA citations, and actively cutting corners on health and safety protocols.

We object to being lauded as heroes, while simultaneously being blamed for infecting patients in order to limit institutional liability.

This approach only deepens the institutional betrayal trauma that Health Care Workers experience which generates mistrust and ultimately contributes to vaccine hesitancy.

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