UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – The COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers took effect Monday in New York. President and CEO of Bassett Health Care System Doctor Tommy Ibrahim says that 96 percent of his staff are vaccinated, and he is hoping that more will follow by the end of the day.
“So we are very happy with that outcome. We’re hoping by the end of the day even more will join and we’ll be even better than where we are,” said Dr. Ibrahim.
However, if staff members of Bassett do not get their first dose of the vaccine today, they will no longer be employed by the organization.
“Unfortunately that does mean that we are going to be losing some staff that’s obviously very hard on the organization but we respect their decision and we’re going to support them through it,” said Dr. Ibrahim.
Ibrahim tells us that there have been Bassett employees who have expressed that the mandate violates their religious rights, and as of right now Bassett is continuing to monitor the situation.
“We are continuing to follow the state’s position on that as well we’re very aware of some of the lawsuits that have been filed so we are monitoring that situation very closely and we’ll follow through in accordance with those guidance,” said Dr. Ibrahim.
Governor Kathy Hochul is deploying trained national guard members to address potential staffing shortages. Dr. Ibrahim says that Bassett is expecting staffing shortages, and although he does not expect there to be interruptions in services…he tells us that Bassett would benefit from any support the state can provide.
“We’re likely gonna have some contraction of some hours or services but no closures or permanent consequences. As a result, we’re going to monitor that response very closely and where we do have opportunity to capitalize on that support we will definitely pursue that,” said Dr. Ibrahim.