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Iowa Healthcare Association against vaccine mandate

Sioux City hospitals support, say they have full compliance
Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 5:37 PM CST
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - The Iowa Healthcare Association says the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers could cause a drop in staffing.

The U.S. Supreme Court Thursday upheld the rule. According to the healthcare association, long-term care facilities and nursing homes lost 10 percent of their staff across Iowa during the pandemic.

Another 20 percent are not vaccinated, which could cause more employees to leave. The rule is meant to protect patients - especially those facing a high risk from COVID-19.

“And we’re very disappointed in this ruling because we believe it is an impractical mandate for health care workers. At the same time, it excludes workers and workers (from) other segments,” said Lori Ristau, spokesperson for the Iowa Healthcare Association.

While the healthcare association believes the mandate unfairly targets the industry, the Supreme Court allowed the rule to stand because healthcare workers are around the most vulnerable people.

Two Sioux City hospitals say they are in full compliance with the Supreme Court mandate. UnityPoint Health - St. Luke’s says the Supreme Court’s ruling on the vaccine mandate protects patients. While MercyOne said its vaccine mandate is in place regardless of any court rulings.

“Our vaccine requirement remains in place regardless of the outcome of court challenges to the federal vaccine requirement. We announced last summer that all eligible employees must have received at least two vaccine doses for multi-dose vaccines or one single-dose vaccine or receive an approved exemption,” said Michaela Feldmann, MercyOne’s regional communications lead.

Both hospitals said all employees had either received a full course of an approved vaccine or were permitted a legal waiver.

“The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the healthcare worker vaccine mandate protects the health of our team members, patients and communities. UnityPoint Health will maintain our current team member vaccination requirement,” said Leah McInerney, a spokesperson for UnityPoint Health.

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