ALBANY — The 11,000 employees of St. Peter’s Health Partners will now be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, officials there announced Thursday.
Parent organization Trinity Health issued the directive for all of its operations Thursday in an effort to stop the spread of the virus. Over the last six months, Trinity has strongly encouraged vaccination, and about 75% of its employees have received the shot. Now vaccination is mandatory for all employees, contractors and anyone doing business in a Trinity facility.
Most employees will need to submit proof of vaccination by Sept. 21, or request and receive an exemption on a religious or health basis. Those who do not, will face termination. If an annual booster shot is required, employees must submit proof they’ve received that, as well.
Trinity also operates hospitals in Syracuse and Buffalo. It is the second hospital system in New York state to require its employees to be vaccinated. New York Presbyterian issued such a mandate in June.
St. Peter’s Health Partners has roughly 11,000 employees in more than 170 locations across the Capital Region, including St. Peter’s, Samaritan and Sunnyview hospitals.
In response to a Daily Gazette request under the Freedom of Information Law, the state Department of Health reported that the two main St. Peter’s Health Partners hospitals had the highest rate of employee vaccination in the Capital Region as of April 27: 96.1% at St. Peter’s Hospital and 99.4% at Samaritan Hospital.
This is far above average: As of July 7, the DOH reports 73% of hospital workers have been vaccinated statewide and 87% in the Capital Region.
Dr. James K. Reed, president and CEO of St. Peter’s Health, said the move comes as the Delta variant of the COVID virus is spreading rapidly in many countries and in parts of the United States. “We have an obligation to those we serve to provide the very best care. This decision represents the next step in our continuing efforts to do all we can to provide healing, compassionate care, while recognizing our vital role in ending this pandemic.”
Michigan-based Trinity Health, one of the largest Catholic health care systems in the nation, operates 91 hospitals and 113 continuing care facilities in 22 states. It employs 117,000 people and reports annual operating revenue of $19.4 billion.