COVID vaccine mandate: Where North Country hospitals stand


FILE – In this Oct. 5, 2021, file photo, a healthcare worker receives a Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. The number of Americans getting COVID-19 vaccines has steadily increased to a three-month high as seniors and people with medical conditions seek boosters, and government and employer mandates push more workers to take their first doses. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Over ten days have passed since all hospital workers were mandated to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Since then, local facilities have been adjusting. In the North Country region, 90% of all hospital workers have completed their vaccine series. This matches the current statewide average.

However, in the region, Jefferson and Lewis counties have the lowest vaccination rates standing at 84% and 83%, respectively. St. Lawrence County currently has a 92% vaccination rate.

Below is a breakdown as to where each hospital stands regarding the percent of hospital workers that have completed their vaccine series.

  • Adirondack Medical Center, Saranac Lake: 97%
  • Alice Hyde Medical Cneter: 86%
  • Canton-Potsdam Hospital: 90%
  • Carthage Area Hospital: 93%
  • Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital: 94%
  • Claxton Hepburn Hospital: 97%
  • Clifton-Fine Hospital: 94%
  • Elizabethtown Community Hospital: 93%
  • Gouverneur Hospital: 89%
  • Lewis County General Hospital: 83%
  • Massena Hospital: 91%
  • River Hospital: 87%
  • Samaritan Medical Center: 82%

All hospital workers in New York State were required to be fully vaccinated by October 7. Since the vaccine mandate went into effect, local facilities have been adjusting.

This includes Samaritan Medical Center, which laid off 28 employees on October 12 that failed to comply with the mandate. Samaritan Medical Center Director of Communications and Public Relations Leslie DiStefano said that the employees were first on a two-week administrative leave as of September 27.

Additionally, Lewis County Health System announced a partnership with Samaritan Health in early October after the vaccine mandate led to a shortage of workers in its maternity unit. As a result, Lewis County General Hospital put a pause on all deliveries on September 25.

Lewis County Health System has developed similar memorandums of understanding with the Mohawk Valley Health System in Utica and Carthage Area Hospital.

As of October 18, no other terminations or shortages have been confirmed at local facilities.

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