The information coming out of Providence Providence Health & Services, a Catholic health care organization, is confusing at best when it comes to the new Covid vaccine and the medical organization’s workforce.
The workers at Providence reportedly received a memo this week that advised them of the updated Covid vaccination policy. Those who don’t want to take the vaccination could be fired, the memo said.
According to the memo, posted by users on X/Twitter, and allegedly received by Providence workers in other states, all caregivers need the newest vaccine for Covid and to provide proof to the company by Nov. 30 that they have taken the shot.
“Caregivers who do not obtain a COVID-19 vaccine or decline by Nov. 30 may be removed from the schedule, placed on unpaid leave and may be subject to termination for continued noncompliance with their facility policy,” the memo says. The company is developing a tool for providing proof of vaccination or submitting a declination; it should be ready by early October.
But some of those those who posted the memo online said they later heard back from Providence’s public relations team, which said the shots are not mandatory at all.
“This is not the same as the vaccine mandates that we were required to implement by state law and CMS during the pandemic. Caregivers can choose to decline the vaccine. Those who do not wish to receive it simply need to submit a declination form by Nov. 30. They no longer need to request approval for a medical or religious exemption as many of our states and CMS required at the height of COVID,” according to the Gateway Pundit, which quoted Providence spokesman Michael Connors.
“All declinations will be automatically accepted. They do not need to be approved. This process is not the same as the medical or religious exemptions that many states and federal regulators required us to review and approve during the pandemic,” Connors was reported as saying.
Yet, on the Providence website, the company makes it clear the shots are mandatory.
The caregiver vaccination policy “aims to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 transmission to workforce members, our vulnerable patient population, and the community. Vaccination is one of the most effective preventive measures available against COVID-19,” the medical company’s website says.
“The policy applies to all workforce members, including employees, caregivers, volunteers, trainees, interns, medical staff, students, independent contractors, vendors, and all other individuals working at the facility, whether or not they are paid by or under the direct control of the facility. Receipt of the most current up-to-date vaccine according to CDC recommendations will meet policy requirements,” the company says.
Some Providence health care workers work remotely, or partly remotely, but that may or may not exclude them from the policy.
“As health care workers, we all play an important leadership role in protecting the health and safety of our communities. Hybrid caregivers who visit our facilities on occasion are required to comply. Caregivers who work 100% remote are exempt from this process, but are encouraged to be vaccinated. It’s important that we all work together for the greater good for our communities,” the policy says.