Dayton hospitals: majority of workers vaccinated ahead of mandate

Premier Health pharmacist, Amanda Deskins gives a COVID shot to Miami Valley Hospital emergency room physician Dr. Cathy Marco. who was the first frontline worker at the hospital to be vaccinated Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. The COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Dayton Dec. 22, 2020 at Miami Valley Hospital. Doctors and nurses were the first to receive the vaccine. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: Jim Noelker

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Premier Health pharmacist, Amanda Deskins gives a COVID shot to Miami Valley Hospital emergency room physician Dr. Cathy Marco. who was the first frontline worker at the hospital to be vaccinated Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. The COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Dayton Dec. 22, 2020 at Miami Valley Hospital. Doctors and nurses were the first to receive the vaccine. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

Dayton Children’s staff must be vaccinated by Dec. 1, Premier and Kettering push back deadline to Jan. 4

Dayton area hospitals report that the majority of their employees have gotten the shot as deadlines for health care workers to get the coronavirus vaccine loom.

Hospitals nationwide feared that vaccine mandates would exacerbate the health care staffing shortage, but it appears the Dayton region will be spared a large exodus of workers, whether or not the mandates survive legal challenges.

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By Wednesday, Dec. 1, all Dayton Children’s Hospital staff must be vaccinated against COVID-19, receive an approved exemption or request time to comply by the federal Jan. 4 deadline, according to a statement by the hospital. Approximately 1% of staff have not yet complied with the mandate.

“We hope that in the next few days, employees that have not yet been vaccinated or received an exemption will make an effort to comply with policy and receive the vaccine, as we value all our staff members,” the Dayton Children’s statement says.

Both Premier Health and Kettering Health Network have pushed back their Dec. 1 deadline to the Jan. 4 cutoff set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services earlier this month. All staff must receive the necessary shots to be fully vaccinated — either two doses of Pfizer or Moderna or one dose of Johnson & Johnson — by that date.

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Both major area hospital networks declined to say what percentage of their workforce was vaccinated, but both said it was the vast majority of their staff.

“We have updated this deadline to give our employees more time to meet the CMS rule, particularly those employees who initially received exemptions that do not meet the criteria outlined in the recently released federal rule,” said a statement by Premier Health.

Premier Health and Kettering Health formerly said they would allow workers previously infected with COVID-19 to defer compliance with their vaccine mandates, but this exemption is not allowed under the federal rule.

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Premier Health said it is still processing new exemption requests, including religious and medical ones, that meet criteria outlined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“We are monitoring our progress closely to ensure there is no disruption in patient care after Jan. 4,” the statement from Premier Health said.

A Kettering Health statement said, “we are thankful that the vast majority of our workforce has become fully vaccinated … We continue to encourage our entire community to get vaccinated, as the science shows it provides the clearest path out of this pandemic.”

Earlier this month, Ohio House Republicans passed a bill that, if approved by the Ohio Senate and signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine, would effectively prohibit employers from requiring vaccines. The law would force businesses to accept exemptions for “reasons of personal conscience.” However, according to the CMS rule, the federal regulation preempts any state law under the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Last week, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost joined a federal lawsuit challenging the federal mandate for health care workers. On Monday, a federal judge blocked enforcement of the CMS rule in the 10 states that first brought a legal challenge similar to the suit Yost joined. That judge’s ruling does not include Ohio.

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