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COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Deadline Tomorrow

Released: 10/1/2021 6:00:00 AM

New York State remains on track to enforce its mandate that all home care and adult day services employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 (at least one shot) by Thursday, October 7, 2021 at 8 a.m. or face immediate termination of employment.

Reminders

  • The VNA, as part of Kaleida Health, supports vaccination for our employees and providers. It is the best way to keep our patients and workforce safe and healthy.
  • We absolutely intend to safely and compliantly implement the State directive when it comes to ensuring vaccination for our workforce.
  • The VNA, along with the rest of Kaleida Health, has been in continual preparation for the mandate deadline and pushing aggressively to urge all unvaccinated employees and providers to receive the vaccine.
  • We intend to remain open and provide access to our services across the organization where and when possible, acknowledging that we will see some sort of a reduction in our workforce next week.

Religious Exemptions

In accordance with the Federal court decision and temporary restraining order, Kaleida Health began accepting requests for religious exemptions on September 16. We are processing them as quickly as possible.

  • All requests for Religious Exemptions from the vaccine mandate for home care and adult day services employees must be submitted by 3 p.m. on Wednesday, October 6, 2021.
  • They will be processed as soon as possible, but in no event later than 12 p.m. on Friday, October 8, 2021.
  • Important to note that any religious exemptions that are approved are considered conditional, pending the outcome of the Federal court case on October 14, 2021.
  • While employees' requests are under review, they may continue to work.
  • If an employee's request is not granted, the employee must either immediately get vaccinated in order to work, or they will be terminated on Friday, October 8, 2021.
  • If an employee's request is granted, and if an accommodation can be made for that employee (e.g. extra PPE or other reasonable and appropriate accommodation), that employee may continue to work until October 14. We expect the Court to make a decision on October 14 to either continue or discontinue the religious exemptions.
  • If religious exemptions continue, employees may continue to work as long as the religious exemptions remain in effect. If religious exemptions are discontinued, employees will have until 7 a.m. on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 to get vaccinated in order to work, or they will be terminated thereafter.

Individuals should submit the Request for Religious Immunization Exemption Form - COVID-19 Vaccination to the email address religiousaccommodationCOVIDvaccine@kaleidahealth.org. A panel of Human Resources representatives will review all requests for religious exemptions.

Still have questions about the vaccine?

Still not sure about getting the COVID-19 vaccine shot? Watch John Sellick, DO, Kaleida Health's medical director of infection control, who recorded this video to help answer common questions about the vaccine and dispel misinformation.

The New York State Department of Health also shared the Top Ten Reasons to Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19 (English and Spanish available).
Where to get vaccinated

COVID-19 vaccine appointments are available at Buffalo General Medical Center (BGMC) and Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital (MFSH) in the Employee Health offices. Make your appointment here: https://apps.kaleidahealth.org/vaccine-appointments/. (This is an internal link accessible when connected to the Kaleida Health network.)

COVID-19 vaccine can be found at a number of local pharmacies and other sites throughout our 10 county service area. Please go to Vaccines.gov - Search for COVID-19 vaccine locations to find a location that is convenient for you.

Summary

The number of unvaccinated employees and providers continues to decrease every day, so we are hopeful that the impact on operations will be minimal. To that end, we thank our dedicated staff for getting vaccinated to help protect our patients, colleagues and community!