UMC Employees Share Their Opinion on COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate
University Medical Center is now requiring all employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine. This requirement has been met with mixed reactions and a bit of distress from some employees.
Due to a mandate put in place by the federal government, every employee must have the first dose of the vaccine by December 5th, 2021 and have their second dose by January 4th, 2022. Those who are not medically or religiously exempt and decide to not get the vaccine will be terminated.
UMC must follow this order because the federal government will cut all Medicare and Medicaid funding if the hospital does not apply the mandate. This order specifically impacts 1,000 UMC employees who are still unvaccinated.
I reached out to a couple UMC employees to see what they think about this vaccine mandate.
The first employee I spoke to has been working at UMC for nearly three years and was not planning to get the COVID-19 vaccine until this mandate.
"I don’t like it," one employee who spoke on condition of anonymity told me. "I would be taking this much better if it were the hospital's choice to require the vaccine, but it's not. The government is withholding money the hospital literally can’t survive without."
Since the mandate was announced, the worker has received their first dose of the vaccine, despite not liking how the mandate is playing out.
On the other end of things, the second employee I spoke to thinks the vaccine mandate is a good idea. They've been working at UMC for just a few months and already fully vaccinated. "I think it's a good thing getting people to get the vaccine because you really should, being a healthcare worker," they told me.
Although the second worker supports everyone getting vaccinated, they still don't entirely agree with how it's playing out.
"It's unfortunate that it's come down to this," they said. "The fact that the federal government has to issue it from their level and to have to hold being terminated above someone to do this."
They made a great point about healthcare workers' responsibility to do whatever they can to keep those they are working with safe from COVID-19.
"As a healthcare worker you should understand that you may not get it, but 90-year-old Jane Smith is at higher risk than you," they said. Even they were initially hesitant about the COVID-19 vaccine, but after seeing how effective it is, they chose to get vaccinated themselves. Their final statement was: "I understand having reservations about a new vaccine but it's been a year now and we need to do our part as a hospital."
These are only two perspectives regarding this issue. Many people are incredibly upset by this mandate and are fully prepared to lose their job when January 4th rolls around. It will be interesting to see how many of the 1,000 employees who are unvaccinated decide to get the vaccine or stick to their decision to remain unvaccinated and accept that they will be terminated.