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COVID-19 vaccine mandates for hospital employees begin in central Indiana

Posted at 4:55 PM, Aug 31, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS — Tuesday marks the beginning of vaccine mandates for our local hospital groups. The deadline to submit proof of vaccination for Franciscan Health begins Tuesday.

IU Health’s mandate goes into effect Wednesday. Community Health Network is giving their employees until Sept. 15 to be vaccinated. Eskenazi’s mandate begins Sept. 20. Lastly, Ascension St. Vincent’s mandate begins Nov. 12.

As we’ve seen rallies held in protest against vaccine mandates for healthcare workers and deadlines looming, Brian Tabor with the Indiana Hospital Association says staffing could be impacted. But shortages, Tabor says, existed even before the pandemic and have only been exacerbated by the health crisis.

As far as the vaccine requirements prompting people to leave the industry, he said, “I don’t think we know yet. I think it’s too early to say what that response will be. But when we reflect back on the early days of the pandemic, some of the most dire staff shortages were because of spread within our workforce.”

Employees’ own health concerns and work exhaustion are of more concern.

Tabor said he understands people’s fears with the vaccine, because of how new it is. But he says hospitals are supposed to be places of safety for people and it’s their responsibility to be safe for patients, their family members and the people working there.

“There are long-term issues that we need to work on,” Tabor said. “But as far as what we can do today, it’s clear that we need to increase vaccination both inside the hospital walls and in the community, and we have to work on both.”

WRTV has reached out to all major hospital groups in central Indiana.

IU Health reports 97% of their staff are already vaccinated. A spokesperson told WRTV, “Team members who remain out of compliance on Sept. 1 will be placed on a two-week suspension and will be allowed to return to work if they attest to partial or full vaccination.”

On Thursday, IU Health reported fewer than 300 employees were suspended.

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