‘I’m sick and tired of losing colleagues.’ Local doctor backs vaccine requirement for health care workers

A local doctor and infectious disease expert shared his support for requiring the COVID-19 vaccine in health care workers, saying he’s lost friends and colleagues to the virus.

“I’m sick and tired of losing colleagues,” Dr. Steven Burdette of Miami Valley Hospital and Wright State University said. “I’m tired of having doctors die. I’m tired of seeing respiratory therapists die. I’m tired of seeing nurses die. I’m tired of seeing patient care techs and medical assistants die of COVID.”

Burdette joined Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff during a coronavirus press conference Thursday morning.

Burdette did not comment on vaccine requirements outside of the health care sector. He noted that the policy isn’t new for health care workers, citing requirements for Hepatitis B and influenza vaccines.

“I’ve lost colleagues; I’ve lost friends; I’ve lost peers in this area and across the country,” he said. “The only way we can stop that from happening is with vaccination.”

Burdette added that many places already have processes in place to allow for medical and religious exemptions.

“So because we have the processes in place for people who cannot be vaccinated for whatever reason,” he said. “I have no problem with proceeding because I am tired of losing my friends.”

On Wednesday hundreds of people protested outside of Miami Valley Hospital and Kettering Health Network’s administrative offices regarding vaccine requirements.

Later Wednesday, the state released numbers that showed more than 3,400 new coronavirus cases in the past day, the highest in five months.

Premier Health, Kettering Health and Dayton Children’s Hospital all announced earlier this month the COVID-19 vaccine would be required for all staff.

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