ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York state’s vaccine mandate has reached its deadline. For local hospitals, that means terminating or suspending staffers who won’t get the shot.
Many are concerned about possible staffing shortages in the wake of the mandate. State-wide only 84 percent of hospital workers are vaccinated. However, the Capital Region could be in a better position than most regions with 91 percent of hospital workers vaccinated.
“It’s really hard,” Hannah Hulett, Labor and Delivery Nurse at St. Peter’s Health Partners, said. “Then already lose more nurses on top of it? It’s just unethical overall.”
Hulett said she’s disappointed to be losing some “good nurses” on her team.
“And they are leaving because they don’t want to have something forced upon them,” Hulett said.
As of Monday, just under 400 SPHP employees have not yet submitted their proof of vaccination. Overall, 96 percent of “eligible employees” have been vaccinated.
“The pandemic itself is a significant stressor. This vaccine mandate is just one more stressor on that system,” Chris Jordan, Chief Nursing Officer for Acute Care and VP of Patient Services, said.
St. Peter’s told NEWS10 that any employee who does not comply with the state mandate will be suspended without pay. They will have until October 8, to “become compliant” or they will be terminated.
Glens Falls told NEWS10 they’ve been combatting staffing shortage for over a year.
“It’s difficult. Our hospitals are busier than they’ve ever been,” Ray Agnew, VP Hospital & Community Management, said. “But still come to the hospital if you need care. We are ready to help.”
Agnew added that the staff has been working extra shifts and stepping up wherever they can. Glens Falls Hospital has also utilized agency staff to help fill the gaps.
By noon, 64 of Glens Falls employees were not in compliance with the vaccine mandate. They will be placed on a 90-day unpaid administrative leave beginning at midnight on September 28.
Albany Med said like most hospitals, they are experiencing increased wait times due to the staffing shortages felt nationwide. When it comes to the total workforce, 97.6 percent is vaccinated.
“Our staff has demonstrated such strong leadership throughout the pandemic,” Albany Med stated in a response to NEWS10. “We are hopeful that the 272 members of our staff who are unvaccinated will become vaccinated for the safety of our community. “
Albany Med added that they are working to develop “thoughtful solutions” to keep cancellations and postponements of surgeries to a minimum.