Corrective action set to begin for healthcare staff non-compliant with vaccine mandate
Those who are against the mandate worry about how the move will affect the whole healthcare system.
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — The debate over vaccine mandates in Idaho saw a slight delay, as the activation of crisis standards led to a delay in corrective action for non-compliant staff.
Earlier this week, health officials announced all the state, outside of the Panhandle Health District, have left crisis standards of care.
“We’re moving out of crisis,” said Dr. Jim Souza, St. Luke’s Chief Physician Executive. “We will begin implementing both our influenza vaccine requirement and our COVID vaccine requirement.”
Those who oppose the vaccine mandate worry about the ways it could affect healthcare workers, vaccinated or not.
“The overall effect on the company morale,” said Kayla Dunn, advocate for healthcare workers. “A lot of people are being discriminated against, it’s just hard to go into work to do their job that they once loved doing. It’s just a very divisive environment now.”
According to Dr. Souza, less than one percent of staff in currently non-compliant with their vaccine policy.
But that’s, in part, due to the number of medical and religious exemptions that were granted.
“We have had fairly wide guardrails around our exemption process,” Dr. Souza said.
Dr. Souza tells me 8-9 percent of St. Luke’s 17,000 staff members have been given exemptions, something Dunn says is due to pressure from the public.
“I believe when they saw the need the community had for our healthcare workers, they decided to, I guess, become more lenient with these exemptions,” Dunn said.
Dunn says the vaccine mandates are an overuse of power and equates the testing requirements for those who are unvaccinated to discrimination.
“People who have had the vaccine also get COVID,” Dunn said. “So, I say if they are going to require someone who has a religious exemption to test, then as far as discrimination is concerned, that everyone should be required to test.”
Dunn stresses the importance of healthcare staff and hopes they can be protected against these mandates.
“They are working the front line and we need them,” Dunn said. “We need them to feel safe in their work environment. A lot of them don’t feel safe and/or accepted any longer.”
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