Local hospitals work to avoid massive layoffs as vaccine mandate goes into effect

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y (WROC) — As of midnight, all healthcare workers in the State Of New York needed to have one dose of the coronavirus vaccine to keep their jobs. Hospitals are reporting some promising numbers to avoid staff shortages. 

At the heart of the mandate taking effect, the two biggest concerns were if it will worsen the staff shortages hospitals and other clinics face? Plus, the arguments over personal choice. Since the Governor ruled the mandate stands, Local hospitals made one final push to avoid massive layoffs.  

Combining 2% of their employees exempt from the mandate due to Religious and medical reasons, URMC (University of Rochester Medical Center) reports 97.5% of their clinical staff are eligible to stay employed. While Rochester Regional sits at 99% workers with at least one vaccine dose. 

“We are fortunate to have several clinician-scientists who conducted vaccine trials and know a lot about the disease and the vaccine,” Dr. Kathy Parrinello of URMC said. “They were able to have one-on-one discussions with our staff.” 

Across all the Finger Lakes Region, the average vaccination rate for hospital workers sits at 87%. While URMC Could see fewer than 300 employees resign, hospital administrators say they have plans to fill vacancies.  

“We have placed several people from travel agencies that work under contract with us,” Dr. Parrinello added. “We have been doing that throughout the year. We were at a job fair a couple of weeks ago and are delighted to have 60 people call in response wanting to work here at Strong.”  

Those numbers could still drop at URMC held another pop-up clinic throughout the day with more to come in the coming days. Some employees who made the last-minute decision chose to see how the vaccine benefited people they knew. Then get it.  

“I do not want to settle for less just because of the vaccination,” Moe Griffin, a Nutritionist told us. “I need a certain amount of money and I am going to make a certain amount of money. If it is only because of the shot then hey I’m grown and can take a little pinch.”  

Weighing their manpower and demand, doctors of URMC are unsure when they can guarantee elective procedures can be scheduled again as they work on a day-to-day basis. They also addressed the protests going on by welcoming these people to meet with their doctors to learn all credible information about the vaccine.  

Clinical Workers in those categories reported include all staff who work in patient facilities which includes billing, transportation, environmental studies, and foodservice. 

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