Missouri governor clashes with hospital execs over vaccine mandates

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Hospital executives in Missouri are facing criticism from Gov. Mike Parson over their decision to mandate vaccines for healthcare workers, according to local news station KY3.

Missouri hospitals are seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases, high enough to force some of them to bring in outside staffing for support. For the first time during the pandemic, Springfield, Mo.-based Mercy Hospital opened a sixth COVID-19 unit, according to a July 11 tweet from Erik Frederick, the hospital's chief administrative officer. 

Mercy is one of the hospitals that has decided to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for its employees — a move Mr. Parson doesn't support.

"I just think healthcare, especially healthcare leaders, really need to be encouraging people to know the importance of the vaccine instead of trying to force people to take a vaccine or really just trying to scare them into taking a vaccine, cause we know that doesn't work," Mr. Parson said July 13.

Mercy Springfield President Brent Hubbard defended the hospital's mandate in a statement to KY3: "We've been strong advocates for the vaccine. So we're leading by example. We're blazing the trail."

Springfield-based CoxHealth also is considering a vaccine mandate, though CEO Steve Edwards said, "An important decision point for us is FDA approval." 

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