BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The COVID-19 vaccine requirement for healthcare workers in New York State is now in the process of being repealed, according to the Department of Health.

With the future of the requirement now in question, News 4 spoke with registered nurse Jackie Ettipio, who lost her job because of the mandate. Ettipio, who’s been a nurse for 31 years, spent most of her career at Mercy Hospital in South Buffalo and was the president of the local CWA union before she was terminated on Dec. 4, 2021.

Ettipio partially retired with some benefits, thinking the situation wouldn’t last that long and she would return to nursing. However, she eventually got another part-time job elsewhere.

“I think nurses, radiology, respiratory — I think they’re exhausted — the people who stayed I think are exhausted beyond belief, because they had to pick up when we were terminated,” Ettipio said. “I think it’s a little sad too because what happened was many of us were old-timers that left, who had a lot of knowledge, who were replaced by first-year travelers. And you just don’t get that, generally we take them under our wings and we teach them.”

Regarding whether Ettipio is considering a return to her old job if the mandate gets repealed, she said she doesn’t know.

The New York State Department of Health released the following statement regarding the mandate’s potential repeal:

“Due to the changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic and evolving vaccine recommendations, the New York State Department of Health has begun the process of repealing the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for workers at regulated health care facilities. Throughout the public health emergency, this vaccine requirement served as a critical public health tool, helping to protect both health care workers and the patients under their care. As the repeal of this regulation awaits consideration for approval by the Public Health and Health Planning Council (PHHPC), the Department will not commence any new enforcement actions. However, it should be noted that facilities should continue to implement their own internal policies regarding COVID-19 vaccination.”

New York State Department of Health

Kelsey Anderson is an award-winning anchor who came back home to Buffalo in 2018. See more of her work here and follow her on Twitter.