LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU/WLAX) – An area health care provider says nearly all of its employees followed its COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
Gundersen Health System said Wednesday that 99% of its employees are either compliant or in the process of becoming compliant with its vaccine requirement, which includes staff that received exemptions for medical, disability, or religious reasons.
Gundersen’s vaccine mandate, which required its employees to become vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 1, was met with some resistance. One Gundersen nurse told CNN in October that they weren’t against the vaccine, but they were opposed to the mandate. An October rally was held in protest of the mandate.
At the time the requirement was announced, 85% of Gundersen employees had already received a COVID-19 vaccine. Wednesday, Gundersen said that 62 employees resigned and 30 employees were let go for a total of 92 staff members that left the health system over the requirement. Gundersen added that its mandate, which was done in anticipation of stricter federal requirements being imposed, was more flexible than the emergency regulation put into place on Nov. 4 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which requires all eligible health care staff participating in Medicare or Medicaid to be vaccinated by Jan. 4, 2022, with limited exemptions.
In addition to the vaccine requirement for staff, Gundersen will continue to follow mitigation measures such as masks, physical distancing, and regular cleaning of facilities as part of its efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. Gundersen cited the health and safety of patients and staff as the organization’s top priority in continuing its vaccination requirement.
Gundersen provides free COVID-19 vaccines by appointment, which can be scheduled on Gundersen’s website.