Hundreds of unvaccinated workers at Orange County hospital stand to lose jobs
As New York's vaccine mandate for health care workers remains on hold, some employers are still moving forward with policies of their own— including Garnet Health in Orange County.
Like many front-line workers, lab tech Erica Karl showed up to work on the worst of days during the pandemic – even though she has a blood disorder that makes her high-risk for COVID-19.
Karl says as of Monday, she and hundreds of her unvaccinated coworkers at Garnet Health in Wallkill will be given pink slips, based on the hospital's vaccination policy.
"It's my life. I want my job and I want to work, I want to help. They're just putting us against the wall,” Karl says. “They will take my livelihood away."
The 60-year-old has worked at the hospital for more than three decades after surviving a yearslong medical struggle that left her with kidney failure, blood clots and a pulmonary embolism.
Karl says she believes in the vaccine but because of her medical conditions and medications, she doesn’t think it’s right for her.
She says she submitted documentation for a medical exemption, but it was denied by the hospital.
Karl and her unvaccinated coworkers are unsure about what will happen when they report to work on Monday.
News 12 was told as many as 600 hospital employees are refusing the vaccine.
News 12 reached out to Garnet Health for comment, but hasn’t heard back.
Meanwhile, if you work in the health care industry and claim a religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine, a federal judge in Utica has extended a temporary restraining order on the state's vaccine mandate to Oct. 12.