CREVE COUER, Mo. – Hundreds of health care workers nationwide continue to protest mandatory COVID vaccines as deadlines approach that could see them lose their jobs.
In the St. Louis area, health care officials insist the vaccines are safe and while they understand people’s concerns, their position on mandatory vaccination remains unchanged.
On Monday, dozens protested outside Mercy Hospital in Creve Coeur. For context, Mercy employs approximately 44,000 people.
The deadline for healthcare workers to be vaccinated is just days away.
Mercy Hospital released this statement:
While Mercy respects differences of opinion about the COVID-19 vaccine and co-workers’ right to assemble and make their voices heard, Mercy’s position remains unchanged. Mercy co-workers have until this Thursday to complete their COVID-19 vaccination, receive an exemption or submit proof of the vaccination they have already completed.
We anticipated a small number of our co-workers would wait until the last days to meet our vaccination policy requirements before facing an unpaid suspension for up to 28 days. We will have an accurate number of co-workers who chose not to comply with the policy, including receiving approval for an exemption, after the suspension period has expired at the end of October.
Mercy Hospitals is not alone in issuing a vaccine mandate.
In June, BJC HealthCare required all team members receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Affinia Health Care is requiring its nearly 400 health care workers to be vaccinated.
“Professionally, I’m around patients who are vulnerable, who are pregnant, and I think it’s my responsibility to keep myself healthy, and also keep the community as healthy as possible,” said Dr. Melissa Tepe, Affinia’s chief medical officer.
Steve Harmon, the vice president of human resources at Affinia, said vaccines are safe and effective and encouraged health care professionals to get vaccinated
“We here at Affinia Healthcare mandated our employees to receive the vaccine because, as a healthcare organization, we want to make sure our employees and our patients and the general public are safe,” he said. “We believe that the vaccine will help us accomplish that.”