Sarasota Memorial Hospital updates its COVID-19 vaccine policy for workers
SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Workers getting their vaccine shots will continue to be a common sight at the Sarasota Memorial Hospital locations. They are now requiring all of their employees, medical staff, volunteers, vendors, and contractors to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4, 2022.
“Do everything possible to protect its staff and the patients and the community,” said Dr. Lisa Merritt, Executive Director of the Multicultural Health Institute. “It’s very reasonable and appropriate, it’s what you’re supposed to do.”
The hospital does find itself in the middle of a political battle over vaccines. They are following the federal vaccine mandate. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation on Thursday going against the federal mandate, threatening places that don’t comply with fines.
“This adds another administrative and financial burden to their daily job of caring for people in the community,” said Dr. Jay Wolfson, Professor of Public Health for USF. “It’s really not good for anybody and it’s unfortunate that it’s come to this.”
SMH officials say if they didn’t follow the federal vaccine mandate, they would risk losing Medicare and Medicaid. They say they will tackle the state law and potential fines if and when it comes up.
“We’re all looking at public health policy and not politics, people’s lives I think this is what’s so important,” said Merritt. “I think people are so worried about money and power and reelections, they should be worried about people’s lives.”
Sarasota Memorial Hospital says 82% of their nearly 7,800 member workforce has been vaccinated.
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