UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY-TV) — Before leaving office former Governor Andrew Cuomo mandated COVID-19 vaccines for all healthcare workers across the state. Hospitals and nursing homes must require their employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID, with the first dose received by Sept 27.

“To get vaccinated so that they would be safe for their families, safe for themselves and protect our residents,” Bruce Gendron, Regional Vice President at Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing said.

The Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing at Utica have been encouraging their employees to get vaccinated from the beginning by using incentive programs, but not all employees were in favor of vaccines, and many were left disappointed with the mandate.

“You know in any population there are going to be people who are reticent about getting the vaccination and we were not at 100% compliance here,” Gendron explained. “Although we were happy with the response from our employees, however, there are some employees disappointed that they are going to be mandated but we’re giving them as much education as we can to make them feel better about the process.”

Nursing homes and other healthcare facilities can’t afford to lose employees as the pandemic has made the shortage of healthcare workers even worse than it was before, but with the vaccine mandate, some health care professionals are considering their options.

“A small percentage have indicated that they are on the fence whether they are going to continue to work or get the vaccination,” Gendron said. “We’re hoping in the end those who are on the fence make the final decision to get the vaccination. We don’t want to lose anyone because of the vaccination status and so we’re educating them, encouraging them and even providing incentives like raffles and things like that to encourage them to get vaccinated.