It was predicted. The COVID-19 vaccine continues to be a divisor, but in one New York hospital, the mandate for all staffers to receive it has caused a shortage that now forces the hospital to pause delivering babies.

In upstate New York, a hospital system has said it will be forced to 'pause maternity services' later this month. This is due to a number of the staff refusing the vaccination, and instead choosing to resign. The Lewis County Health System is looking at what it calls contingency plans in case more resignations are in the pipeline as medical staffers choose to quit their jobs rather than be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.

Lewis County Health System CEO Gerald R. Cayer said that the maternity unit already has shortages, with at least six resignations thus far and an additional seven more who have said they'd rather resign than be vaccinated.

Cayer said this means they cannot safely staff the maternity services after September 24, and the number of resignations they've received means a pause on delivering babies at Lewis County General Hospital.

They are looking at how to staff for other services in case more resignations follow. New York State law requires the health care staff to have received their first vaccine dose by September 27. Medical exemptions can be made for those who are allergic or have had previous adverse reactions to vaccines, but require a licensed physician or certified nurse practitioner's approval.

Religious exemptions are not allowed for healthcare workers or nursing home workers. In 2019, during a measles outbreak, the state eliminated religious exemptions.

Cayer says that he fully supports mandatory vaccines for health care workers, and that essential services are not at risk. (Ummm, delivering humans is sort of essential? We digress.)

The hospital system has about 73% of its staff vaccinated, and the majority of the resignations are from clinical services. The state positivity rate is at a low 3.2% though Lewis County is at 5.8%. Still, compared to states with 23+% positivity rates? They're doing well.

This comes as President Biden announced sweeping mandates from the federal level. Staff in hospitals that receive Medicare or Medicaid MUST be vaccinated to receive their reimbursement. This puts a major pressure on health care systems as pretty much everyone receives that reimbursement. Unless their entire staff is not vaccinated, that is.

We doubt this will be the last we hear of this.