204 Albany Med workers could lose job for refusing COVID vaccine

Hospitals in the Capital Region are dealing with the fallout from the state’s health care worker vaccine mandate.

Gov. Kathy Hochul signed an executive order to help alleviate staffing shortages caused by the mandate.

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Albany Medical Center CEO Dr. Dennis McKenna is calling the worker shortage a crisis, but hopes the new executive order will help control it.

He says there are 204 workers from Albany Med who did not get vaccinated out of more than 11,000. There are 29 people who got a religious exemption. The workers without an exemption have seven days of unpaid leave to get the vaccine or will have to leave.

At this point, they might need to shuffle workers around to meet patients’ needs. They also might need to cut down on procedures that are not urgent.

DIGITAL EXTRA: Full press conference with Albany Med CEO on vaccine mandates

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"We may need to look at whether or not there are outpatient clinic locations that we would either need to reduce the number of hours or collapse down and redeploy that staff back here to the bedside. I hope we don’t have to do all those things, but we might need to," said McKenna.

He added Albany Med is in regular contact with other local hospitals, and all have not had to cancel any elective procedures, but may in the coming days.