07/12/2021 / By Arsenio Toledo
A growing number of companies in the healthcare industry are instituting Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine mandates. Many more are expected to mandate the experimental vaccines once they are given full approval.
Public health experts estimate that the Food and Drug Administration will give at least one of the coronavirus vaccines in circulation in the United States full authorization by September at the earliest. Corporations are already gearing up to enforce vaccine mandates for their employees as soon as full authorization comes.
But even without full authorization, many health systems and other healthcare companies have already resorted to giving their employees an ultimatum: Take the experimental COVID-19 vaccines or get fired.
The Houston Methodist Hospital system in Texas has already made headlines for firing over a hundred employees who refused to take the coronavirus vaccines.
Unfortunately, the vaccine mandates in the healthcare industry are having an immediate effect.
Back in May, Benchmark Senior Living, the largest assisted living network in New England with over 6,000 employees, announced its vaccine mandate. Thanks to the threat of unemployment, the proportion of vaccinated staffers jumped from 56 percent in May to 73 percent at the beginning of the month. The company plans to have everyone vaccinated by the end of the month.
Trinity Health Corporation, a Michigan-based health system that serves patients in 22 states with its workforce of 117,000 employees has also mandated vaccines. It said employees must present proof of vaccination by Sept. 21. Those who fail to do so will be terminated. (Related: 3 Largest hospital systems in Massachusetts implement vaccine mandate, nearly 130,000 workers affected.)
The University of Pennsylvania Health System (Penn Medicine) has required its 44,000 employees to get vaccinated by Sept. 1. P.J. Brennan, the hospital system’s chief medical officer, said there will be consequences for remaining unvaccinated after the deadline.
“It’s naive to think at this point that more education or information will change people’s minds,” he said, threatening to fire workers who don’t follow the mandate.
“This is gaining momentum in the country,” said Kevin Sowers, president of the John Hopkins Health System. The hospital system announced its own vaccine mandate last month. Sowers said most academic medical centers like Penn Medicine and the John Hopkins system “are considering how they’re going to roll it out with their workforce.”
Despite the proliferation of vaccine mandates in the healthcare industry, many people are still standing up for their freedom to choose whether to take the vaccine or not.
As of June 25, the most recent data from the federal government shows that thousands of workers in hospitals with vaccine mandates remain unvaccinated.
“That’s a personal decision,” said Ellen MacInnis, an emergency room nurse at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Boston. MacInnis is vaccinated but is against any kind of mandate.
LaTricia Blank, a former ultrasound technologist for Houston Methodist, was fired for refusing to get vaccinated. She sued the hospital for its vaccine mandate. She said she does not trust the vaccines.
“For an employer to threaten a job, that is coercion,” said Blank. “For an employer to offer bonuses, that’s coercion.”
Dr. David Priest, an executive with Novant Health, warned that vaccine mandates could alienate workers in the healthcare industry. “Just because you work in healthcare doesn’t mean you’re immune to the cultural and political influence of the community where you live,” he said.
Mark Barnes, former associate health commissioner for New York City, predicted that the vaccine mandates will spread to other sectors such as the financial services and light industry sectors. “We’re going to see more vaccine mandates by large organizations of all kinds as the months go by,” he said.
Learn more about the push to mandate vaccines in workplaces all over the country by reading the latest articles at Vaccines.news.
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