GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KFQX) — President Joe Biden’s effort to slow the COVID-19 pandemic with vaccine mandates has two dozen states challenging the requirement in court.
While health care professionals race to get vaccinated by January 4th, the Supreme Court is prepared to hear from both sides. “We are walking the fine line many hospitals are walking, while we support the vaccine, we want everyone to get the vaccine, we understand people have a choice to make,” Leann Tobin, Chief Marketing officer of Montrose Regional Health say.
Montrose Regional Hospital administrators say patients aren’t the only ones left with a serious decision to make. “We have had seven left definitely because of the vaccine mandate,” Tobin says.
Health care professionals must be COVID-19 vaccinated by January 4th or face termination and as Joe Geradi, Chief Medical officer of Community Hospital says, “We have to have health care workers to care for these patients.”
While several workforces battle a vaccine mandate, hospital officials are taking the time to show its front line workers, the bigger picture. “What efforts we need to make as a leadership team to help our staff understand the vaccine, feel more comfortable,” Geradi said.
As the mandate nears 90% of Mesa County residents in hospitals are unvaccinated and as Montrose Regional Health says, “If it continues at this level it can definitely hurt us in the long run,” Tobin said.
With time running out the Supreme Court will hear challenges from 24 states blocking the federal vaccine mandate January 7th, but locally if health care professionals refuse the shot, the outcome would be tragic. “If we had 5 Intensive Care Unit nurses walk out we would have to shut down our ICU same thing with our emergency department.”
While some health care workers battle the choice to get vaccinated, “Our goal as a health care provider is obviously to keep our staff healthy so we can continue our care to our patients,” Geradi says and both local hospitals don’t want to see any more health professions leave their post. “We are doing the best that we can to keep all of our valued care givers through this journey with the vaccine mandate.”