Local healthcare systems respond to injunction allowing religious exemptions for healthcare workers

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CAPITAL REGION, NY (NEWS10) – Health systems in the Capital Region respond to an injunction from a federal judge in Utica to allow health workers to seek religious exemptions to receive the COVID vaccine.

Prior to the statewide immunization mandate, a number of local private health systems had their own requirements in place, allowing staff to request religious exemptions.

In response to Tuesday’s injunction, a spokesperson for St. Peter’s Health Partners released the following statement:

“Like all health care organizations in New York State, we are watching the issue of religious exemptions for immunization among health care workers resolve in court. Currently, 229 colleagues in our system have been granted exemption from vaccination for religious reasons. “

Spokesperson for St. Peter’s Health Partners

At Ellis Medicine, 79 staff have religious exemptions on file, while 16 employees are currently suspended without pay for breach of mandate. These 79 people can continue to work while legal challenges continue and, like everyone else, are screened before entering Ellis’ facilities.

A spokesperson for Ellis Medicine released the following statement on vaccination rates:

“In the end, we avoided worst-case scenarios for mandate-related staffing. As we continue to tackle staffing challenges alongside countless other hospitals across the country, Ellis’ extended team is to be commended for trusting the vaccine as a vital weapon against the virus. Their shooting is at the heart of our fundamental security value.

Philip Schwartz, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, Ellis Medicine

Elsewhere in the capital region, the vice president of Glens Falls Hospital said Tuesday’s injunction doesn’t change much at the hospital, as those with religious reasons for not getting the vaccine can continue to work.

Currently there are 48 staff members with religious exemption. These employees are subject to regular COVID-19 testing and must wear PPE at all times.

Albany Med said they are evaluating the outcome of Tuesday’s decision.

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