Why Capital Region, U.S. Hospitals Are Requiring Staff Covid Vaccination

Within the last several weeks, numerous hospitals around the U.S. and all hospitals in the Capital Region have required that their staffs receive the Covid-19 vaccine. Albany Med has joined with hospitals from the Hudson Valley to the North Country and the Mohawk Valley to ensure all health care workers—from those on the front line to volunteers, students and operations staff—are protected from the virus through vaccination.

To that end, the following hospitals have released a consensus statement:

  • Albany Med Health System
    • Albany Medical Center Hospital
    • Columbia Memorial Health
    • Glens Falls Hospital
    • Saratoga Hospital
  • Ellis Medicine
  • Nathan Littauer Hospital
  • St. Mary’s Hospital – Amsterdam
  • St. Peter’s Health Partners
    • St. Peter’s Hospital
    • Samaritan Hospital
    • Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital

Their position is based on proof that the vaccine is safe and highly effective at preventing Covid-19 and, in rare breakthrough cases, preventing serious illness. Experts believe the vaccine also keeps the virus from spreading. The more people get vaccinated, the stronger the protection for others who are at increased risk of contracting the virus due to underlying health conditions. The vaccine is also widely available. There are few if any barriers to access with scheduled and pop-up clinics occurring daily in many places.

Health care workers treat the most vulnerable members of our communities. Requiring a Covid-19 vaccine demonstrates a commitment to protect the safety and health all patients, visitors, coworkers, and our own families. Health care organizations are also among the largest employers in the Capital Region. The health of our colleagues directly correlates to the health of the entire community.

In a press release, Albany Med President and CEO Dennis P. McKenna, MD, said, “The science tells us that the vaccine works. Our staff has witnessed first-hand the unforgiving impact of the coronavirus on nearly every aspect of our lives and, in too many cases, on life itself.”

The number of patients hospitalized for Covid-19 declined as more people became vaccinated. But in late July, the rate began to increase, and the overwhelming majority of patients with Covid-19 had not received the vaccine.

“We must continue to lead by example,” Dr. McKenna said. “I thank all my colleagues for their untiring efforts and urge every member of our workforce—and our neighbors in the community—to get vaccinated. The vaccine will help put the pandemic behind us.”

More than half of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated as of Aug. 9, 2021. Nearly 60 percent of New Yorkers and more than 60 percent of Capital Region residents have completed the vaccine series.

Capital Region hospitals encourage other health care providers to require the vaccine for the health and safety of their communities. They believe those requirements should be made as soon as possible.

Each of these organizations will develop its own set of limited exemptions and deferrals for consideration.