ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — The New York State Department of Health has eliminated the religious exemption for health care workers statewide who do not want to get vaccines.

The decision was unanimous.

The department of health also established a deadline that all hospitals and nursing homes must require their employees to be fully vaccinated, with the first dose received no later than September 27.

“Years back, when they mandated Measles vaccination, they did so in the absence of any religious exemptions,” said Steven Hanks, St. Peter’s Health Partners Chief Clinical Officer. “They felt that the public health outweighed the religious rights. I don’t believe we’re going to see a huge exodus of staff and I believe that’s the case because everybody is in the same boat.”

Other health care facilities covered in the provision include diagnostics, treatment centers, home health agencies, and long-term health care programs.