This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.

Biden's Vaccine Mandate Is Exacerbating the Nursing Shortage Which Is Already at Crisis Levels
Elizabeth Vaughn 9/13/2021 10:01 AM


Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

On Sunday, I posted about the Lewis County General Hospital in Lowville, New York, which was forced to "pause" delivering babies after staff members in the maternity unit handed in their resignations over New York State's controversial vaccine mandate.

In August, then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that all healthcare workers in the state would be required to have at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination by September 27 or be fired.

According to WWNY, Lewis County Health System Chief Executive Officer Gerald Cayer told reporters: “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."

He added, “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.”

Nor is New York State alone. Prior to the pandemic, there was already a critical shortage of nurses in the U.S. The pandemic, of course, has exacerbated the problem.

In May, the University of St. Augustine (USA) published the results of a study of the nationwide nurse shortage. They report that the current shortage began in 2012, long before we'd ever heard about the coronavirus. They "project that 1.2 million new registered nurses will be needed by 2030 to address the current shortage."

Beverly Banez, BSN, RN told USA that, “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.”

An article published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last month said 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. As of this week [August 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," according to the media outlet.

WIBW-13 in Kansas reported on Friday that the state had just approved $50 million in emergency funding to address the shortage of nurses. The funds will be used to "either provide premium pay or improve retention of nursing resources and support personnel."

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 operate, it's not crazy to wonder if the timing of this announcement and perhaps even the initiative itself was intended to distract from the political firestorm he was facing.

The President's approval rating had just hit a series of new lows due to his disastrous handling of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and his incomprehensible decision to leave Americans behind.

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 entitled, "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."

According to Jenkins:

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.

His approach is wedge politics. 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 a time when hospitals need nurses the most, Biden's vaccine mandate deadline could literally be a life-and-death matter for many people in the hospital. We already knew this 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 the deadline.


A version of this article was previously published by The Western Journal.

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Elizabeth Vaughn
Elizabeth Vaughn is a contract writer at The Western Journal and a current contributor to American Free News Network. She is a former contributor to RedState, Newsmax, The Dan Bongino Show, and The Federalist. Her articles have also appeared on Instapundit, RealClearPolitics, MSN, Hot Air, The Gateway Pundit, Ricochet and other sites. Prior to blogging, Elizabeth was a financial consultant at Merrill Lynch and an independent equity trader. She is a wife, a mom to three grown children and several beloved golden retrievers, and a grandmother.

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