Like many other hospitals in Western New York, Olean General Hospital recently updated their COVID-19 protocol, making it a new requirement to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by a deadline of Sept. 27. 

The vaccine requirement that takes effect in less than two weeks affects hospital and nursing home employees in the state of New York, but not everyone is willing to roll up their sleeves and take the poke to the arm.

More than 250 Olean General Hospital employees have declined vaccinations and continue to push back against the requirement, despite the nearing deadline.

Additionally, 11 employees of Olean General Hospital have formally resigned from their positions since the new vaccine requirement was first introduced, with a few of those employees citing “medical freedom” as a reason for terminating their employment. 

Hospitals in Western New York believe that having a 100% vaccinated workforce is one of the best measures that they can take collectively to protect their patients, fellow employees, and the community they serve.

The reaction to the vaccine mandate is making hospitals and nursing homes in New York State slightly nervous, as the push back to the requirement was unanticipated. 

Some hospitals and nursing homes have drawn up “disaster plans” due to the large number of vital employees who have, so far, refused vaccination. 

Hospital services in the coming weeks could be severely affected. One doctor predicted that hospitals in Western New York may need to close down certain units and restrict services provided to only the emergency areas in hospitals. 

One nurse in East Aurora said, “We are [already] struggling in the emergency room.” 

“Nurses are facing right now — short staffing, sick patients, and no beds,” she said.

If that is happening right now, what will it look like in Western New York hospitals come Sept. 27?

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