Health care workers hit the streets to protest vaccine mandate
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -Some health care workers are protesting vaccine mandates at local hospitals and health care facilities. Protesters in scrubs held up signs on the sidewalk and shared their opposition to vaccine mandates. The health care workers and their supporters state Mesa Manor as well as Hilltop will be firing employees if they do not get the vaccine by November 1st. They feel no one should be fired for doing something they don’t believe in.
Protesters also say the mandate will make staffing shortages in the health care industry, particularly in hospitals, even worse. Officials say an increase in hospitalizations not just from a surge in COVID-19 cases but also delayed care or postponed surgeries is stressing out hospital systems in an already short staffed field.
Earlier this month, officials from health care facilities across the Grand Valley announced the mandates saying vaccinations are critical to protect patients, staff, and the general community. There are only a handful of exemptions to the state mandate. They include a qualifying medical condition, a disability or a sincerely held religious belief, according to the public health order. Employees who qualify for an exemption are required to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing and provide documentation.
St. Mary’s released a statement regarding the protests. It says: Due to the recent COVID-19 surge and highly contagious variants, SCL Health supports the efforts of Colorado Governor Jared Polis and his request to mandate for COVID-19 vaccinations for all healthcare workers (with the opportunity for exemptions for identified medical or religious reasons). It is expected Colorado’s new rule will go into effect within the next 30-days. SCL Health, along with other Colorado healthcare systems, has implemented specific policies and effective dates for a mandated vaccination policy, and it did so in alignment with the governor’s announcement. SCL Health will follow federal and state guidelines. Many healthcare organizations in Mesa County agree that vaccination is the primary way to control the increased infections in the community from the delta variant. The Governor’s request to mandate vaccines for all healthcare workers is essential to protect the vulnerable, including unvaccinated children and the immunocompromised. Indeed, this is why many health care organizations already require vaccinations for influenza
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