Deadline nears to vaccinate healthcare workers: Hospitals prepare for loss of staff

The deadline for healthcare workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine and remain employed in New York is just a week away.

By Monday, September 27 all healthcare workers will need to have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. They have the option to get the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines — but the state mandate was issued after the Food and Drug Administration gave full-approval to the Pfizer BioNTech version.

EXPLAINER: No, the COVID vaccine mandate has not been blocked because of that federal court order (in-depth)

Hospitals across Upstate New York are reporting different levels of vaccination. Some are reporting between 75-90% vaccination — while others are reporting close to 100%. Either way, hospital administrators are worried about the outcome. Nursing home administrators are, too, as some facilities face losing dozens of workers when the deadline passes — leaving that many, or hundreds of total openings in an already depleted field.




Guthrie Hospital in Cortland, New York said the 5% of employees there who are not vaccinated are considering options — including religious or medical exemptions.

“We’re also still processing exemption requests in accordance with the federal law. Our human resources department is still actively engaged with each employee,” officials there told LocalSyr.com. “Those who are choosing not to put in an exemption or to comply with the New York State mandate, then will obviously not be employed by Guthrie.”

Cayuga Medical Center in Tompkins County has a vaccination rate of 83%. Auburn Community Hospital has a vaccination rate of 78%.


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