Syracuse hospital fires 78 workers for refusing Covid-19 vaccination –

Syracuse, N.Y. — St. Joseph’s Health has fired 78 employees for not complying with the state’s Covid-19 vaccination mandate.

The hospital system had suspended 122 workers who did not get vaccinated by the state’s Sept. 27 deadline. St. Joe’s warned them they would be terminated if they did not get the shot by today.

The number of unvaccinated workers had fallen to 88 as of Thursday and dropped to 78 today. St. Joe’s has 3,810 employees.

“While we never want to lose any employees, we are pleased to say that our vaccination rate is nearly 98%,” Dr. Philip Falcone, St. Joe’s chief medical officer, said in a prepared statement. “We are proud and grateful that so many employees took action and got their Covid vaccine. It remains the single most effective way to protect ourselves, our patients and their families from Covid.”

Falcone said any terminated employees who change their minds and get vaccinated within a year will be welcomed back and retain their tenure.

Upstate University Hospital, Syracuse’s biggest hospital, suspended or terminated 113 employees who did not get Covid-19 shots by the Sept. 27 deadline.

Crouse Hospital reported seven workers lost their jobs for not complying with the state mandate.

Health care workers who are fired or suspended for not getting vaccinated are not eligible for unemployment benefits, according to the state Labor Department.

The job losses come at a time when hospitals here and nationwide don’t have enough nurses and other workers.

Upstate recently closed some of its operating rooms and postponed elective surgeries because of a staff shortage.

James T. Mulder covers health and higher education. Have a news tip? Contact him at (315) 470-2245 or