Local hospitals double down on employee vaccine requirements despite senate overturning Biden’s mandate

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BLOOMINGTON-NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Many large employers nationwide are putting company-wide vaccine requirements for employees on pause while President Biden’s mandate plays out in court.

Last week, the U.S. Senate voted to overturn Biden’s mandate and many businesses are now doing the same- including hospitals.

However, locally, two major hospitals in McLean County are sticking with their mandates.

In a statement Lynn Fulton, president of OSF Saint Joseph said:

“As health care providers, it is our ethical obligation to be vigilant about the safety of our patients and Mission Partners (employees), and we firmly support the facts that prove the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective against severe illness and death from the virus, and are the best way to keep all of us safe from this deadly disease that has already taken so much from so many.

OSF HealthCare thoughtfully made the decision to require all Mission Partners (employees) to be vaccinated against COVID-19. This policy is consistent with existing OSF vaccination requirements, including an annual flu shot, as well as up-to-date vaccinations against measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough.” — Lynn Fulton.

Nationwide many hospitals have dropped vaccine mandates in order to keep emergency rooms and offices staffed. However Fulton said that won’t be the case at OSF Saint Joseph.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges to health care operations, one of which is maintaining strong staffing levels. Our main priority is to safely provide comprehensive care for those who need it. We have an emergency operations plan for each hospital that contains a surge and staffing plan. We applaud our Mission Partners for their dedication to our patients and the communities we serve. We are actively recruiting for any open positions, and at no time has patient care been compromised.”

Lynn Fulton, President of OSF Saint Joseph

Carle Health also sent a statement regarding the COVID vaccine mandate and said they will still require all employees to have at least one dose of COVID vaccines, if applicable by Jan 4.

Carle feels strongly that vaccination is the best way through the pandemic and helps to create the safest environment to give and receive care. Despite the delay in implementation by the federal government, we will uphold the vaccine requirement and ask all team members to receive at least one dose by Jan. 4. While we have offered religious and medical exemptions to those who qualify, we continue to encourage all staff to get vaccinated. We continue to follow the CDC’s recommendation on booster vaccinations and encourage all team members who qualify to receive one.

Spokesperson for Carle Health

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