3,600 Maine health care workers have not been vaccinated

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The clock is ticking for 3,600 unvaccinated health care workers as the deadline for being fully vaccinated approaches.

A federal judge declined Wednesday to halt the governor's mandate that all health care workers be fully vaccinated. The state said it will begin enforcing the rule at month's end.

Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston already began curtailing admissions and closed one department because of a staffing shortage linked to the vaccine requirement.

Gov. Janet Mills said the vaccine mandate alone isn't causing the workforce shortages. She said all businesses are facing shortages during the pandemic.

“We are actually working with the hospitals and nursing homes across the state to address individual workforce issues,” Mills said.