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Vaccine mandate for nursing home staff raises concerns

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – At Kirkhaven nursing home, 70% of staff and 92% of residents have been vaccinated so far. The facility has been COVID-free for several weeks.

“I think that with vaccination and ongoing protocols, we’re going to get out of the thick of this and come out the other end and be even stronger,” said Mark Irwin, Director of Nursing at Kirkhaven.

Under Section 16 of state law, the Department of Health can require nursing homes to implement a policy mandating staff vaccinations. On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the state will require all healthcare workers to have the first dose of a COVID vaccine by September 27.

Leslie Silva, a partner at Tully Rinckey PLLC, says employees will have to get vaccinated unless they have a medical or religious exemption.

“Your personal beliefs aren’t going to be enough to prevent you from getting vaccinated and keeping your job,” said Silva.

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