Central New York nursing homes make last-ditch effort to vaccinate employees before deadline


ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)– In a mad dash to get as many shots into employees’ arms before midnight, Loretto is increasing their percentage by the hour. 

“At each shift change we’re in the lobby we’re checking people in, we’re walking them a few steps over to the nurse if they’re not vaccinated and having them get the shot,” Julie Sheedy, Chief Marketing and Engagement Officer at Loretto said.

This flurry of employee vaccinations is to comply with the state’s vaccine mandate deadline for healthcare workers. All healthcare workers across the state must be vaccinated by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, September 27 or they face termination. 

As of 11 a.m. Monday morning, Loretto said 93% of staff were vaccinated at the Loretto Health and Rehabilitation Center, 93% at The Nottingham, and 97% at The Commons on St. Anthony.

While these numbers are high, that’s not the case at every nursing home in Onondaga County. A spokesperson from Onondaga Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing told NewsChannel 9 in a statement that as of Monday morning, 76% of staff were vaccinated and nearly 23% were not. The statement added that almost 10 employees are looking to receive the shot Tuesday due to a lack of in-house supply. 

But others are doing pretty well, including Elderwood at Liverpool, telling NewsChannel 9 they have a vaccination rate of 97.5% with 239 of 245 employees vaccinated as of Monday afternoon. 

Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing told NewsChannel 9 their employee vaccination rate was up to 90% as of Monday going on to say:

“No Van Duyn employees are being terminated for not being vaccinated, but instead, they will be put on ‘mandate leave’ to keep them current, if they decide to change their mind within 60 days. We appreciate, value and respect all of our employees, and we hope that those who remain hesitant to be vaccinated will do so in the near future.”

Christina Kunzman, Managing Partner

Onondaga Center for Rehab and Nursing is taking a similar approach saying:

“We always follow the guidelines set forth by the New York State DOH so if an employee will not receive their vaccination, they will “no longer be eligible” to be employed by our nursing homes per this New York State mandate.  The difference between being outright terminated versus being “no longer eligible” to be employed, is if the employee decides later on to be vaccinated, they will reclaim their job at our specific facility.”

Jeffrey Jacomowitz, Director of Corporate Communications

As for Loretto, if an employee does not receive their first dose of the vaccination by the end of the day, Monday they will be terminated.

Each facility has a slightly different plan, as the enforcement of the mandate lies in their hands for now. 

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