Local Nursing Homes Prepare for Vaccination Mandate Deadline


HAMBURG, NY (WIVB) – The majority of healthcare workers statewide have until Monday to receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Right now, state data shows that there isn’t a single nursing home in our area with a 100% vaccination rate.

Elderwood – which has senior care facilities throughout the Northeast – has an 84 percent vaccination rate among staff. Chuck Hayes, vice president of marketing and communications, said they are working to get all staff vaccinated even before Gov. Kathy Hochul announces the state’s tenure. Now Hayes has said they are also preparing for possible staff shortages.

“[Workers] have them all through Sunday, and there are immunization clinics everywhere available to them, ”said Hayes. “Apart from that, our clinical team and administrative teams worked on contingency plans to ensure that we had sufficient staff. “

Our News 4 Investigates team first told you about vaccination rates in nursing homes last month. Since then, data shows that 71 nursing homes in our area have reported their immunization rates to the state. Of these, more than half of the facilities did not achieve a complete vaccination rate of 75 percent, which is considered the herd immunity threshold.

“I think it should be a personal choice,” said Molly, an employee at a local nursing home. “We should have the option, and if we don’t get it, we should continue testing.”

Jessica, another nursing home worker who is not vaccinated, has worked at her facility for over a decade.

“It’s sad. You lose everything you’ve worked hard for,” she said. “You have pensions and stuff. You’re going to have to find what you’re going to do.

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Meanwhile, as local hospitals scramble to get their staff vaccinated, Catholic Health has released a statement saying they will allow employees who request medical or religious exemptions to continue working for the time being.

However, if a worker does not make this request by Sunday evening, he will be placed on unpaid leave and could be dismissed.

Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been on the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.


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