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Nursing Homes And The New Vaccine Requirement

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VESTAL, NY (WSKG)—All healthcare workers in New York must get at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 27, according to a recent announcement from the state.

This includes workers at hospitals, adult care facilities, and nursing homes. Of the three, nursing homes have the lowest vaccination rates, hovering at 68 percent statewide. In the past year, some facilities have experienced staff shortages, making the stakes a bit higher.

Ryan LaClair, Administrator at Willow Point Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Vestal, said 92 percent of residents have received the vaccine, and about 75 percent of his staff are vaccinated.

But he said there are some workers who might quit rather than get the vaccine.

“I’m sure we stand to lose some staff, and we’d hate to see that happen,” said LaClair. “But we’re prepared for - it is what it is, we have to follow the guidance.”

LaClair said despite the announcement, the nursing home has not received further guidance from the state about what this requirement will actually look like.

“We found out just like everyone else, he made this announcement but there has been nothing distributed to nursing homes, at least to us, at this point,” said LaClair. “So we’re kind of standing fast, and just preparing for whatever mandates we have to follow.”

The "he" refers to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

LaClair said he is not sure if any staff members will have the option to get tested rather than be vaccinated, or whether there will be religious and medical exemptions.

State officials did not return an email requesting clarification.

LaClair said that more information might make it easier to communicate with his staff about the requirements. For now, he said, they will wait for more details from the state.