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Health care workers, facing vaccine mandate deadlines, brace for staff shortages

Caroline Champlin Sep 28, 2021
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A registered nurse attends a patient with COVID-19 at the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center in Tarzana, California on Sept. 2, 2021. APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images

Health care workers, facing vaccine mandate deadlines, brace for staff shortages

Caroline Champlin Sep 28, 2021
A registered nurse attends a patient with COVID-19 at the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center in Tarzana, California on Sept. 2, 2021. APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images
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Health care workers in the state of New York had until Monday to get the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, or lose their jobs. Health care facilities there are bracing for staff shortages. But New York, which was an epicenter of the pandemic, isn’t the only state with a vaccine deadline this week.

California health care workers have until this Thursday to get vaccinated.

Chris Van Gorder, president of Scripps Health, a health care system in San Diego, said about 1% of his 16,000 employees aren’t vaccinated, including some working in ERs, others working with mothers and children and some working in respiratory therapy.

He’s afraid many of them will be let go.

“Well, to be honest with you, staffing is so tight right now, loss of any single employee, it hurts us,” he said.

Meanwhile in Connecticut, the deadlines for vaccination at some private hospitals have already passed, said Jennifer Jackson, head of the Connecticut Hospital Association. The deadline for state hospital workers was Monday.

“There are some who we anticipate will choose to resign rather than get vaccinated. And that’s, of course, unfortunate,” she said.

Jackson said hospitals are prepared to hire more staff if they can, so that any losses don’t disrupt operations.

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