Thousands of health and nursing home workers are facing unemployment as medical organizations and home care operators across the U.S. bully employees into getting the experimental coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine under threat of suspension, termination or discriminatory testing practices.
Last year, they were considered heroes risking their lives at the frontline of the battle against the pandemic. Now, they’re being treated like a bunch of irresponsible workers.
Hospitals and health systems that require COVID-19 vaccination for employees
The list of hospitals and health systems requiring COVID-19 vaccination for employees is growing. Below are some of the latest to join the list. (Related: 3 Largest hospital systems in Massachusetts implement vaccine mandate, nearly 130,000 workers affected.)
Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, a Memphis-based health system with 13,000 employees, said on Aug. 9 that it is requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 31. The requirement applies to employees across hospital and outpatient locations in West Tennessee and North Mississippi.
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago said on Aug. 9 that it will require employees, students, contractors, badged vendors and volunteers to be vaccinated by Oct. 18. The hospital will require proof of vaccination as a condition of employment.
Saratoga Hospital in New York said on Aug. 9 that all employees will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 7. Those who do not get vaccinated will need to get tested weekly for the virus.
Perry County Memorial Hospital in Tell City said on Aug. 9 that all employees will be required to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 4. As of this writing, 75 percent of its staff is already vaccinated. The mandate will apply to all employees, regardless of whether or not they provide direct patient care. Volunteers, contractors and vendors will also need to be vaccinated.
Virginia Mason Franciscan Health in Seattle said on Aug. 6 that all employees need to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Emory Healthcare in Atlanta will require vaccinations for its healthcare providers and employees, according to a statement released on Aug. 6. Employees must receive their vaccinations by Oct. 1.
Summa Health in Cleveland is requiring all of its employees to get their final COVID-19 vaccine dose two weeks before Oct. 31. Those who refuse could be disciplined or fired, the health system said on Aug. 5.
Cape Fear Valley Health in Fayetteville said on Aug. 5 that all employees, students, vendors and volunteers need to be vaccinated by Oct. 1. Employees will not be required to use their vacation time to get their vaccines.
Premier Health in Dayton said on Aug. 5 that it’s requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 1.
Kettering Health in Dayton is requiring employees, medical staff, students, volunteers and vendors conducting business in their facilities to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 4, the health system said on Aug. 5.
TriHealth in Cincinnati has decided to require vaccination for all team members, physicians and volunteers, according to a statement released on Aug. 5.
UnityPoint Health will require its more than 33,000 team members to be fully vaccinated, the West Des Moines, Iowa-based health system said on Aug. 5. Employed team members must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1 unless they obtain an exemption or temporary deferral.
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital is requiring its staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 1. The hospital said on Aug. 5 that proof of vaccination will be required as a condition of employment unless a medical or religious exemption has been granted.
Christ Hospital Health Network in Cincinnati said on Aug. 5 that its employees will be required to be vaccinated by Oct. 1.
UC Health in Cincinnati said on Aug. 5 that employees must be vaccinated by Oct. 1.
Nursing home workers forced to receive COVID-19 vaccine to keep their jobs
Unvaccinated nursing home workers are facing the same predicament. Genesis Healthcare, the largest nursing home operator in the U.S., recently announced that its employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to keep their jobs. It has 70,000 employees at nearly 400 nursing homes and senior communities across the country.
The Pennsylvania-based company is giving its employees until Aug. 23 to get their first dose. (Related: Coronavirus outbreak ensues following vaccination of residents at nursing home.)
“It’s so easy now to say, ‘Well, Genesis is doing it. Now we’ll do it.’ This is a big domino to fall,” said Brian Lee, who leads Families for Better Care, an advocacy group for long-term care residents.
Some local governments have taken the decision out of the industry’s hands, with Massachusetts and Denver recently announcing mandatory vaccinations at nursing homes.
Some smaller nursing home operations across the nation have already required their employees to get vaccinated, including Canterbury Court in Atlanta, Jewish Home Family in Rockleigh, Westminster Village in Bloomington and Hanceville Nursing & Rehab Center in Alabama.
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