Multiple healthcare organizations in Nebraska to mandate vaccines for employees

Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 9:01 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 12, 2021 at 10:47 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - On average, 80-85% of employees in Nebraska’s Healthcare Systems are currently vaccinated, by November, that’ll change to close to 100%. On Thursday, eight medical facilities announced they’ll be requiring all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The facilities requiring COVID-19 vaccinations are:

Boys Town National Research Hospital

Bryan Health

CHI Health

Children’s Hospital & Medical Center

Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital

Methodist Health Systems

Midwest Surgical Hospital

Nebraska Medicine

At Bryan Health, every employee needs to be fully vaccinated by November 1, 2021. The same goes for workers at CHI Health in Lincoln and across Nebraska.

This doesn’t just include physicians and nurses who actually need to comply by an earlier date, it includes all staff... From administration.. to vendors.. to custodial staff.

On a case-by-case basis, facilities will approve exemptions, specifically, for religious and medical reasons, but those unvaccinated will have to follow certain protocols.

“There will be some sort of restriction on how people may move about the hospital or whether there might be testing. All of those things are being considered at various places.”

For those opposing the vaccine for other reasons, they will face the possibility of losing their jobs.

“General philosophical beliefs, socio, political beliefs will not qualify.”

Officials said they were going to wait until vaccines got FDA approval but tell 10/11 NOW, waiting at this point is too dangerous.

“Just five weeks ago, we had less than a handful of patients with COVID, and now, we’ve seen over 50. We’ve opened up four COVID units to take care of patients. We had patients waiting in our emergency room this morning.”

Hospital leaders told us they understand the new requirement may put them at risk of losing employees, but it’s a risk they’re willing to take.

“We recognize that risk. We’ve discussed that in detail among our teams.”

“Is that person a right fit for our culture? Maybe not. They’re allowed to make a choice. They can make a choice that they don’t want to work at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, and that’s unfortunate.”

Many of these facilities already require vaccines against the conditions like the measles, the seasonal flu and HPV. They say the COVID-19 vaccination is just another one they’re adding to the list.

Medical officials say the reason behind their decision, ultimately, is to not only keep their patients safe but to keep their staff healthy in order to give patients the care they need.

Several of the doctors on Thursday’s panel say they’ve received a majority of positive feedback with employees saying the new vaccine requirement brings them a sense of relief.