FACT CHECK: Will National Guard Members Be Required To Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19 If They Replace Unvaccinated Nurses In New York?
An image shared on Instagram claims members of the National Guard are not required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 until June 2022 but are “the ones replacing the nurses in NY who have refused the jab.”
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Though the Army said its National Guard units have until June 2022 to be fully vaccinated, that does not mean unvaccinated New York health care workers will be replaced by unvaccinated National Guard members. COVID-19 vaccination will be mandatory for National Guard members “deployed into health care settings subject to the mandate,” according to a New York State Department of Health spokesperson.
In August, then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the New York State Department of Health would require all health care workers in the state to receive their first COVID-19 vaccine doses by Sept. 27. Some health care facilities in the state on Sept. 27 started firing or suspending those who had not received exemptions and were not vaccinated, Reuters reported.
The same day, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed an executive order to adjust health care worker eligibility requirements to address staffing shortages that could potentially arise, according to WWNY-TV. She has put forward the possibility of filling such roles with qualified National Guard personnel, the outlet reported.
A viral Instagram post attempts to suggest unvaccinated National Guards members will be permitted to work in New York hospitals in the place of unvaccinated health care workers. The post reads, “The National Guard are not required to take the jab until June of 2022, yet they are the ones replacing nurses in NY who have refused the jab. This is not about a virus. The goal is to enact martial law and continue with the implementation of the New World Order & socialism.”
The Army did announce Sept. 14 that its National Guard units would have until June 30, 2022, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. That does not, however, mean unvaccinated National Guard personnel would replace unvaccinated New York health care workers. (RELATED: Are New York Hospitals Refusing To Release Newborn Babies To Unvaccinated Parents?)
The COVID-19 vaccination requirement in the New York State Health Department’s Aug. 18 order defined people covered under the policy as “all persons employed or affiliated with a covered entity, whether paid or unpaid, including but not limited to employees, members of the medical and nursing staff, contract staff, students, and volunteers, who engage in activities such that if they were infected with COVID-19, they could potentially expose, patients, residents, or personnel working for such entity to the disease.” The order includes medical and religious exemptions.
“The vaccine mandate for health care workers will apply for any National Guard members deployed into health care settings subject to the mandate,” Jeffrey Hammond, deputy communications director at the New York State Department of Health, told Check Your Fact via email Monday. “At this time we have not yet had to activate any National Guard members for this purpose, and we are constantly monitoring to determine any necessary deployment.”
Based on state statistics, 87 percent of New York’s hospital workers had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 29, Business Insider reported. New York medical facilities did not close en masse as a result of the state’s vaccination requirement, nor did large swathes of health care workers quit because of it, according to The Hill.