INDIANAPOLIS–Indiana University Health is requiring all of its employees to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by September 1, but not all employees agree with that requirement.
The IU Health employees who are against the requirement are planning a protest at 3 pm Saturday on the Indy Canal Walk behind IU Health Fairbanks Hall, near the 10th Street bridge.
“Vaccinating team members is a safe and effective way to protect patients and help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in facilities and in the community,” IU Health said in a statement. “Requiring vaccinations for healthcare employees is not new or unprecedented.”
IU Health has previously required other vaccinations as a condition of employment, including the flu vaccine since 2012.
Traci Staley has worked for IU Health for the last six years in a position where she has no direct contact with patients. She started a Facebook group for workers opposed to the vaccine requirement, which now has more than 3,000 members. The group was started for IU Health employees but now hosts health care workers and their families from all around the state.
A petition against the requirement now has more than 8,800 signatures.
“A lot of concerns that I have heard voiced to me are not only that it’s not FDA approved, but also that there’s not a lot of long-term studies. I mean, there are no long-term studies on this right now,” said Staley. “There are plenty of people that are still on the fence. They just want to have the right to make that choice.”
Employees can apply for an exemption for medical and religious reasons. Employees who request an exemption must do so by July. Staley has received previous exemptions for the flu vaccine.
“We all have the right to our own bodily autonomy,” Staley said. “Vaccine shouldn’t be a condition of our employment. Even with exemptions, it can lead to medical discrimination and medical segregation.”
Staley said her group is hoping not only to change IU Health’s decision but also the decisions of health care facilities across the country.
Both Pfizer and Moderna have submitted their COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial study results for full FDA approval.