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Deadline passes for California health care workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Thursday was the deadline for health care workers in California to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

California was the first state in the country to mandate health care workers be fully vaccinated for COVID.

The public health order remains one of the most stringent in the nation. It applies to physicians, nurses, technicians, janitors and other workers in hospitals, doctor's offices, nursing homes and health care facilities.

Some critics of the order predict the vaccination mandate will cause staffing shortages at hospitals that are already feeling intense stress and over work.

Major hospital operators in California and public health care providers say they're confident Thursday's deadline will not disrupt operations.

"Like all hospitals in California, Tenet Health Central Coast is complying with the state's mandate requiring all hospital workers to be fully vaccinated or have an approved exemption," a spokesman for Tenet Health said.

Current numbers show less than ten percent of those under the vaccination mandate have requested limited medical or religious exemptions.

Lompoc Valley Medical Center said more than 93% of its staff is fully vaccinated. 39 have been granted religious or medical exemptions and will have to be tested once or twice a week depending on their position. Four employees face suspension for not being vaccinated. One of those employees, who is the only full-time employee that has not complied with the order, was placed on medical leave and is expected to be in compliance when returning. The three other employees are per diem staff, LVMC said.

Dignity Health was working to collect the latest data regarding the vaccination status of its staff. That information is expected to be released at a later date.

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Keith Carls

Keith Carls is a reporter at NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Keith, click here.

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