A dozen Kentucky hospitals require COVID vaccine; how they enforce the mandate varies

A dozen Kentucky hospitals and hospital systems announced they are requiring employees to be...
A dozen Kentucky hospitals and hospital systems announced they are requiring employees to be vaccinated.(Source: WKYT)
Published: Sep. 18, 2021 at 11:09 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A dozen Kentucky hospitals and hospital systems are requiring the COVID vaccine for employees.

That includes all three hospitals in Lexington. But according to our news partners at the Herald-Leader, only some hospitals in the state so far have enforced it.

Even though the dozen or so hospitals are requiring the vaccine, it seems each hospital differs in how they enforce the mandate.

The Herald-Leader surveyed each hospital and found some have actually made it a condition of employment, and for others it’s a fireable offense.

For example, by the September 15th deadline at St. Claire Regional Hospital in Morehead, 23 staff had refused the vaccine and were fired. 15 others were given a medical or religious exemption.

Baptist Health reportedly told employees they would be fired for not complying. Workers there have to be fully vaccinated by October 31st.

This decision was made in conjuncture with Governor Andy Beshear who highlighted Kings Daughter Medical Center in Ashland during his briefing Thursday.

A little over 79% of the system’s 4,464 staff are vaccinated,. leaving 925 staff who aren’t. But they won’t be terminated, instead they’ll be tested weekly.

“As hard as they have been hit, it’s gotten worse this week. They’re concerned about oxygen pressure and supporting services like ventilators. They’ve cancelled all emergency surgeries and have to order more ventilators for their patients,” said Governor Beshear.

And at UK Healthcare, staff had to submit proof of vaccination by Wednesday. A spokesperson for UK told the Herald-Leader those not in compliance would face disciplinary action, up to termination.

UK is expected to provide an update next week.

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