Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Thousands of unvaccinated healthcare workers in New York are expected to start losing their jobs with Monday's deadline to get inoculated against COVID-19.
State health officials said unvaccinated workers must receive at least their first vaccine dose by Sept. 27 or face termination.
According to state figures, about 16% of hospital workers statewide are still unvaccinated. In the Bronx, almost a quarter remain unvaccinated and the figure is about 35% in Sullivan County.
Anticipating a possible decline in health workers due to the mandate, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has prepared a possible state of emergency that would allow the state to call on medical workers from the National Guard and other states to fill in.
Even faced with unemployment, some unvaccinated health workers have said they will not comply with the requirement.
"I don't want to get vaccinated," health worker Junior Reynoso told WCBS-TV. "I'm ready to lose my job, and there's a lot of jobs out there you don't need to be vaccinated."
Due to an order from President Joe Biden, workers at any healthcare facility in the United States that receives federal funding are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Many experts say the mandates are an important step in limiting coronavirus transmissions nationwide. New York's Westchester Medical Center Health Network said 94% of the system's 12,000 workers are now vaccinated.
At a congregation at Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn on Sunday, Hochul pushed back on those who seek a religious exemption from the vaccine.
"God did answer our prayers," Hochul said, according to The New York Times. "He made the smartest men and women -- the scientists, the doctors, the researchers -- he made them come up with a vaccine. That is from God to us and we must say, 'Thank you, God, thank you.'
"There are a lot of people out there who aren't listening to God and what God wants."