SF General Hospital says 115 staff members are off schedule pending vaccine status

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The White House COVID vaccinations coordinator says more healthcare workers across the country are choosing to get vaccinated influenced by vaccine mandates.

In California, hospital staff members had until September 30 to be fully vaccinated.

"Some did choose not to get vaccinated," said Dr. Chris Colwell, Chief of Emergency Medicine at Zuckerberg SF General Hospital.

At Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital there are 115 staff members who remain off the schedule. Those workers decided not to get vaccinated or did not report their vaccination status. Of that 115, ZSFG has 64 pending exemption requests.

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Dr. Colwell, Chief of the Emergency at SF General says the vast majority of hospital workers who were once hesitant chose to get the vaccine.

"It pushed a lot of people who were on the fence in the direction of doing that. It set a good precedent for what we are about, which is going to be first and foremost on patient safety. This is ultimately about patient safety," said Dr. Colwell.

President Biden's vaccination plan projects to mandate vaccines to almost 100 million people including healthcare workers.

"If you work for institutions that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding, CMS is working on a rule that will also require vaccines for those workers. This covers about 17 million workers in this country," said Dr. Bechara Choucair, White House COVID Vaccinations Coordinator.

RELATED: Pandemic exhaustion causing some nurses to leave emergency departments as 4th COVID surge approaches

Dr. Choucair says they're tracking vaccination numbers in California and New York where it's officially mandated for healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated.

"If you are a company with 100 employees or more then it's your responsibility to make sure that every one of these employees is either vaccinated or getting tested at least once weekly," said Dr. Choucair.

Dr. Colwell was concerned the vaccine mandate would add stress to staffing shortage they are experiencing.

"We are still struggling with the nurse shortage again. We are certainly seeing that. I was very worried that this would make it worse but it does not seem to have made it worse," said Dr. Colwell.

Another factor impacting staffing shortages in hospitals across the country is 18 months of the pandemic. Dr. Colwell says medical staff has exhausted medical workers who in some cases are leaving the industry as a whole.

VACCINE TRACKER: How California is doing, when you can get a coronavirus vaccine

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