Ashley Roll, an employee at a state-run home for people with developmental disabilities in Central New York, doesn't know if her facility will mandate COVID-19 vaccines for its healthcare workers and staff. But she's looking for a new job just in case.

Roll is concerned she may find herself among healthcare workers who either resigned or were fired from their jobs amid federal and local vaccine mandates. As of Monday, most New York healthcare workers were required to receive their first dose of the vaccine. 

"I work for the state of New York," Roll said, referring to the Central New York Developmental Disabilities Service Office, where she's worked for six years. "We've all kind of been sitting there wondering what's going to happen. Are we going to get mandated? Are we going to get fired? We have no idea."

Hospital and nursing home healthcare workers in New York had to have received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose by September 27, while home care, hospice, and adult care facility workers have until October 7. In anticipation of the deadlines, hospitals and nursing homes across the state are preparing for staff shortages as some employees refuse the vaccine and face termination. 

Roll, who is also a freshman nursing student gaining clinical experience at a local hospital, said her vaccination status in the face of New York's mandate has also impacted her education. Roll said her dean at Mohawk Valley Community College informed her that if she remained unvaccinated, she would not be able to proceed with her nursing clinicals at a hospital that is adhering to the state mandate, effectively disqualifying her from the program.

The 33-year-old said she has had adverse reactions to other vaccines she's taken, and argued that the COVID-19 vaccine not only feels forced on her but also rushed. Experts have debunked this argument, noting that counties and organizations heavily invested in all stages of its development processing, which saved time, as Insider's Mary Meisenzahl previously reported.

Roll said she planned on seeking a religious exemption from the shots. Among her peers at the state home, she said few are vaccinated, and some are seeking other jobs in anticipation of a vaccine requirement. 

"I have been looking for other jobs," Roll said. "We've all said that we're just going to wait until they fire us, basically." 

New York Governor Kathy Hochul is pressing forward, deploying medical members of the National Guard to replace unvaccinated hospital workers and issuing a state of emergency that allows healthcare professionals from other states and countries to fill any gaps. 

In the four weeks leading up to the mandate's September 27 deadline — which overlapped with Biden's vaccine mandate for healthcare facilities that get federal funds — vaccination rates among healthcare workers had "increased considerably," according to a press release from the governor's office

Among nursing home staff 92% were vaccinated, up from 71%. In adult care facilities, the vaccination rate rose from 77% to 89%, and in hospitals, 92% of staff had received their first shot, the state reported. 

"This new information shows that holding firm on the vaccine mandate for health care workers is simply the right thing to do to protect our vulnerable family members and loved ones from COVID-19," Hochul said in the statement

A state Department of Health spokesperson told Insider that it was up to organizations affected by the mandate to "develop a plan for implementation of the mandate and what happens if employees do not comply." New York hospital systems have buckled down on the mandate, either firing employees who have not been vaccinated or putting them on leave.  

Northwell Health, the state's largest healthcare provider, announced on Monday that it fired two dozen managers for not complying with the mandate. A spokesperson for the health system told Insider they had informed unvaccinated employees that they were in violation of the state mandate and had "begun a process to exit all unvaccinated team members using a carefully planned approach." 

Hospitals in other areas of the country with similar mandates have noticed that most healthcare workers, including nurses, opt to get vaccinated rather than face termination. 

A spokesperson from New York-Presbyterian, a top medical center in New York, told Insider that 99% of its 48,000 employees are vaccinated. 

"Fewer than 250 chose not to comply and no longer work at NewYork-Presbyterian as of September 23. We will continue to provide exceptional care at all of our hospitals, without interruption," a spokesperson told Insider.

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