Two days ago, we told you about the fact that Mercy Hospital in St. Louis requires their nurses and doctors to be vaccinated against the flu, regardless of any exemptions. And yesterday, the debate about forced vaccinations hit the streets. (It is unclear if any hospital employees were involved in the protest.)
“Demonstrators walked along the public sidewalk on Kennerly Road to protest the hospital’s policy requiring employees to get flu shots.
Nelia Abuchon, the woman who organized the protest, said she’s a friend of a Mercy South Hospital nurse who was terminated this week after her exemption based on religious reasons was denied.”1
The nurse in question had been employeed at the hospital for five years and always granted a religious exemption in the past. However, when Mercy bought out St. Anthony’s Medical Center those exemptions (seemed to have) ended.
“Mercy has a policy that says that they accept religious and medical exemptions and yet, in practice, it appears that they are not accepting them, they’re denying them. Here at Mercy South, this nurse knows of no other doctor or nurse who actually was granted their religious or medical exemption and, frankly, here we’re focused on the religious exemption because this nurse chose rather than being coerced in receiving the shot. She was terminated yesterday.”2
In respose to the protests, Mercy Hospital South released the following statement:
“The point of our flu vaccination policy is simple: protection against the flu virus saves lives, especially those of our most vulnerable patients.
Those co-workers whose exemption requests were not accepted will be notified this week and, in accordance with our policy, will not be permitted to remain employed without receiving a vaccination.”3
This case seems rather simple. The hospital’s policy says it takes exemptions. But they don’t. At least not for everyone. Mercy’s public statement went on to that out of its over 44,000 employees system-wide, it received approximately 170 exemption requests and the majority were approved.
There are still some unknowns in this story. If more information becomes avaiable, we will update this story.