Where North Country hospitals stand as vaccine mandate looms

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A healthcare worker fills a syringe with Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at a community vaccination event in a predominately Latino neighborhood in Los Angeles, California, August 11, 2021. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — The deadline for hospital workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine is here.

As required by New York State, all healthcare workers, including staff at hospitals and long-term care facilities are mandated to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by September 27. As the deadline is here, 14% of all healthcare workers in the North Country have still yet to be fully vaccinated.

Of all counties in the region, Essex County has the highest percent of vaccinated healthcare workers standing at 92%, with Franklin County following at 91%. St. Lawrence County has the third-highest rate at 87%. As of September 27, Clinton County’s rate was 86%, and Jefferson and Lewis counties’ rates both were 81%.

Below is a breakdown of the percent of hospital workers with completed vaccine series at each hospital in the region.

  • Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital: 86%
  • Elizabethtown Community Hospital: 95%
  • Adirondack Medical Center- Saranac Lake Site: 97%
  • Alice Hyde Medical Center- 85%
  • Carthage Area Hospital: 79%
  • River Hospital, Inc.: 83%
  • Samaritan Medical Center: 81%
  • Lewis County General Hospital: 81%
  • Canton-Potsdam Hospital: 84%
  • Claxton Hepburn Hospital: 95%
  • Clifton-Fine Hospital: 91%
  • Gouverneur Hospital: 81%
  • Massena Hospital: 85%

Healthcare workers are required to receive the first dose of the vaccine by September 27 and be fully vaccinated by October 7. Each healthcare institution is responsible for developing a plan for the implementation of the mandate, and any action it will take regarding non-compliant employees.

According to NYSDOH, the percentage of hospital workers with a completed vaccine series is calculated from the number of eligible staff and the number completing the recommended series of a given COVID-19 vaccine product. This includes either two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Since this mandate was announced in mid-August, there has been pushback from local and state officials, as well as healthcare employees. This has led to staff resignations, resulting in shortages at local hospitals. Governor Kathy Hochul also said that she is prepared to declare a state of emergency and deeply workforce supply to address health care shortages in the state.

According to Gov. Hochul, this plan includes allowing qualified healthcare professionals licensed in other states and countries to practice in New York. It would also deploy medically-trained National Guard members to facilities in need of support.

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