BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Back in August, California mandated that healthcare workers statewide must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 come September 30.
It was the first requirement of its kind in the nation.
One of the major hospitals in our community, Dignity Health met this morning to discuss their plans for the looming deadline ahead stating several of their staff have chosen to get vaccinated.
“More than 90 percent of our staff and medical staff are vaccinated and at the beginning of the mandate we were at 60 percent so clearly many more of our people have become vaccinated during that time," said Daniel Wolcott, the President of Adventist Health Hospital in Kern County.
Back in August, the mandate that all healthcare workers be fully vaccinated by September 30 was met with several protests, but Wolcott said the mandate was a motivator for his staff.
He credits this turnaround to the staff and the COVID-19 listening sessions the company put into place.
“We created opportunities for our associates to get online with leaders with medical experts infectious disease physicians that could describe the pros and cons of the mandate of the vaccine,” said Ken Keller with Memorial Hospital.
Keller also said a large portion of staffing at that medical center is also vaccinated.
“We’re just a little bit over 82 percent of our employees that have either been fully vaccinated or completed the first dose of the two-dose regimen,” said Keller.
Back at Adventist Health, Wolcott said as of September 29 there are only eight people that have an unknown status, so he is not concerned about a mass exodus of employees.
Registered nurse and President of the California Nursing Association, Sandy Reding said she hasn’t heard of any nurses quitting because of the vaccine mandate.
“Most of our nurses that I speak to have been vaccinated and do support the fact that all eligible people be vaccinated,” said Reding.
Still, there are some nurses who have not gotten vaccinated.
“The ten percent of our staff that are left we are still assessing their complete status and we’ll know more about that tomorrow,” said Bruce Peters from Memorial Hospital.
In Memorial Hospital’s perspective, Keller said it is a concern any time they lose any employees and they have plans to increase recruitment if so.