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Some area hospital workers don’t want COVID shot, governor vows to send vaccine elsewhere

Updated: Feb. 10, 2021 at 5:49 PM EST
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LOWVILLE, N.Y. (WWNY) - While you may be waiting to get the COVID vaccine, there are some who don’t want it. When those people work in hospitals, the state can track that data. In fact, the state is ready to pull back unused doses out of hospitals so others who want the shot can get it.

“How do you have some hospitals at 100 percent and some at 40 percent, 50 percent,” asked Governor Andrew Cuomo.

One reason: some health care workers simply don’t want the vaccine.

“There’s a certain group in our community who are not fans of vaccines. There are some faith-based reasons and a general concern about how quickly the vaccine was developed,” said Lewis County Health System CEO Jerry Cayer.

Officials say only 56 percent of Lewis County Health System’s workers are vaccinated, as hospital leaders do all they can to educate the rest who aren’t rolling up their sleeves.

“I have sent out, over the last several weeks, a dozen messages, including educational material. We have material on our website, our Facebook page, posters throughout the organization. In the elevator, the bathrooms,” said Cayer.

Cayer isn’t alone. Other north country hospitals aren’t at 100 percent either.

Samaritan Medical Center is at 70 percent.

Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center is at 86.7 percent.

Carthage Area Hospital is at 73 percent.

As of Monday, Gouverneur Hospital was at 54.3 percent.

At the end of this week, Governor Cuomo says all the unused doses will be reallocated to counties for others who want a shot.

At Lewis County Health System, whether someone gets the shot or not, Cayer says that’s for an employee to decide.

“There’s a fine line from a management point of view in regards to encouraging and educating and it is very important that we don’t turn to a place of judging. I respect every single person who works in our organization. It’s that simple for me,” he said.

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