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The Idaho health system’s new requirements for COVID-19 vaccine met with mixed reactions



St. Luke’s Health System, Saint Alphonsus Health System and Primary Health Medical Group announced on Thursday that the COVID-19 vaccine will become a requirement for staff.

BOISE, Idaho – Major health care providers in Idaho are no longer making the decision to be vaccinated for a choice for their employees. St. Luke’s Health System, Saint Alphonsus Health System and Primary Health Medical Group all announced Thursday that the COVID-19 vaccine will become a requirement for their staff.

The medical organizations said the decision is due to the safety of staff, patients and the community.

“We feel like a national health system it̵

7;s the right thing to do,” said Odette Bolano, president and CEO of Saint Alphonsus Health System.

All three of the medical providers already had high vaccination rates before the announcement. In early June, KTVB reported that Primary Health and Saint Alphonsu’s medical teams had a vaccination rate of 70%. St. Luke’s, the state’s largest private employer, sat at 80%.

This requirement applies to all employees, medical or not. However, not everyone is happy after hearing the news, and some took to social media on Thursday, with many claiming the decisions remove employee rights.

“We must have the right to choose to take this experimental vaccine and not be forced,” Charlene Weigel wrote on Facebook. “This is so wrong!”

“Maybe I will not go there to have my baby. It may be time to change,” Stephanie Stanton posted on Facebook. “I do not want to support a facility that does not support personal freedom.”

Others on social media were happy to hear the news and thought the decision to be a ‘no brainer’. Some said it was good to hear that they could feel safe by taking themselves and their families in for medical attention.

Medical professionals in Treasure Valley agree that this is the right step to take.

“I think it gives patients and society confidence to know that if they go into a healthcare system, they can feel safe and know that the people who take care of them will not pass it on to them. said Brad Bigford, owner and nurse practitioner for Table Rock Mobile Medicine.

Bigford said hearing the news Thursday got him excited. He added that getting more people vaccinated is the only way the world will be able to get out of the pandemic.

“This is the next step in the process,” Bigford said.

While Bigford never demanded that his employees get the vaccine, he said he should not. All his staff were able to be vaccinated as soon as they could.

“We are more vulnerable, so we need to be vaccinated and show society that we are willing to take it,” Bigford said.

He does not believe that the new requirement in these health systems removes anyone’s rights because they choose to work there.

“Go somewhere that doesn’t require it,” Bigford said. “We see the news unfold that there is not much [medical] places in the valley because it is so important.

Bigford acknowledged that the vaccine debate will never be resolved, but he hopes these announcements may be enough to get someone on the fence to sign up for a vaccine.

“Hopefully the average citizen sees this and thinks, ‘Well, if St. Luke and Als impose this and make it an importance for their employees, it might be good enough for me, ”he said.




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