IU Health says fewer than 300 employees suspended over COVID-19 vaccinate mandate

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Registered nurse Morgan James loads a syringe with a dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at the Blood Bank of Alaska in Anchorage on March 19, 2021. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS – IU Health says fewer than 300 employees have been suspended because of its COVID-19 vaccination requirement.

The healthcare provider set a Sept. 1 deadline for workers to get the vaccine. IU Health said that staff was 97% compliant.

The hospital system has about 36,000 employees. Taken at face value, the 97% figure would mean that more than 1,000 employees faced suspension. That 1,000 figure, however, doesn’t account for deferrals or medical exemptions. IU Health put the number at fewer than 300 suspensions in an email provided to FOX59.

“Vaccinating team members is a safe and effective way to protect patients and help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in facilities and in the community,” IU Health said in a statement.

“Team members who remain out of compliance on Sept. 1 will be placed on a two-week unpaid suspension. During the suspension they will be allowed to return to work if they attest to partial or full vaccination.”

IU Health said its process wouldn’t be complete until mid-September, when it would reveal the number of workers who decided to leave over the vaccine mandate.

Under the company’s policy, workers who refuse to get the vaccine can have their employment terminated. Exemptions were allowed on medical or religious grounds.

In June, a federal judge threw out a lawsuit filed by employees of a Houston hospital system challenging its vaccine requirement. The judge ruled that private employers could require their staffs to get the COVID-19 vaccine, which is a common practice with other vaccinations such as the flu shot.

The FDA gave full approval to the Pfizer vaccine last month.

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