FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – President Joe Biden’s federal mandate for all healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated is approaching.
The mandate requires all eligible healthcare staff to have a least one dose of the vaccine by Dec. 6 and be fully vaccinated by early January.
Earlier this month the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services issued a vaccine mandate for all participating hospitals, that includes Fort Wayne. President Biden said he issued this mandate to help the economy get back on track.
Healthcare is our second largest employing industry behind the manufacturing industry, and this industry is already taking a major blow by being understaffed.
“The healthcare industry can’t really afford to lose workers,” said Rick Farrant, Director of Communications with Northeast Indiana Works. “There are at least probably more than 2,000 openings right now across the spectrum. Any workers that they lose it’s going to be difficult.”
Like many other industries, there have been a wide spread of shortage of workers. But would the vaccine mandate make things worse by causing a mass exodus? Farrant said it’s way to early to determine.
“For those people who choose not to get vaccinated and lose their jobs, while it is a jobs seeker’s market it may be tough for them not to only get jobs but tough of them to find jobs in the healthcare industry,” Farrant said. “It might be tough of them in other industries because with or without mandate, there are employers out there that are requiring vaccinations.”
Rachel Blakeman, Director of Purdue University Community Research Institute, said judging from other healthcare employers who have already implemented the mandate, there is a very small number of people who are deciding to quit their jobs. However, in the health care industry there is no surplus to cut.
“It’s unlikely that we will see a mass exodus of workers as a result of this, if our workforce follows similar patters. ” Blakeman said. “Are we running at a risks? Absolutely, but we also have to look at it from the benefit of patients. Having unvaccinated healthcare workers, you run the possibility of spreading COVID-19 to some of or most vulnerable population.”
Blakeman added that it’s very premature to determine what will happen, but judging from other employers who implemented the mandate, the initial concerns have not played out in an actual departure.