Finger Lakes-area hospitals are moving forward with their plans to require all healthcare workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the coming weeks.
It’s a statewide mandate that has sparked concern among some that staff members will walk instead of getting vaccinated.
The COVID-19 vaccine mandate applies to a number of healthcare facilities – not just hospitals. Nursing homes, doctor’s offices, urgent care facilities, and other types of medical offices will all need to follow the same guidance with regard to vaccination.
Two of the region’s largest hospital operators – Rochester Regional Health and University of Rochester Medical Center – sent letters to staff indicating that they will be terminated if unvaccinated.
“The vaccine mandate applies to all employees and affiliated personnel of Rochester Regional Health, including members of the Medical Staff, vendors, consultants, students, volunteers and contract labor. In order to be compliant, you must receive your first vaccine dose no later than September 27,” the letter reads.
The Rochester Regional Health letter goes on outlining the severity of consequences if an employee fails to get vaccinated.
“Any RRH employee who has not provided documentation of their first dose by September 27, 2021 and has not been granted a medical exemption and related accommodation, will not be permitted to work and will be placed on an unpaid leave for five (5) days. Any RRH employee who does not provide documentation of their first dose within that five (5) day period will be terminated and will not be entitled to unemployment benefits or payout of accrued vacation,” it reads.
Labor law experts have been weighing in on vaccine mandates since they began rolling out after the Pfizer vaccine was given full FDA approval. It comes down to the individuals voluntarily not complying with a company policy. Since the state has mandated the COVID-19 vaccine for all staff at healthcare facilities – then it therefore becomes a company policy. If a person is terminated for failing to voluntarily comply with such a policy – then they are not entitled to unemployment benefits.
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