Nearly a dozen employees at a Wisconsin nursing home quit after COVID-19 vaccine mandate

A staff member at Janesville, Wis.-based Rock Haven nursing home said nearly a dozen employees quit after the facility mandated the COVID-19 vaccine, local CBS affiliate WISCTV reported Jan. 20. 

"If it would have been voluntary at first, I think a lot of people would have received the vaccine," Michelle Lynch, a staff member at the facility, told the news station. "I think because [they're] told it's mandatory, a lot of people are fighting back. They don't want to be told they have to take a vaccine that's not FDA approved." 

The FDA granted emergency use of Pfizer and Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines. Emergency use authorizations make a product available based on the best available evidence, without waiting for all evidence that would typically be needed for an approval, according to the FDA. 

Ms. Lynch added she's concerned that more staff may decide to leave if the mandate isn't reversed. 

"The quality of care might suffer if all these staff leave," she said. 

The facility is run by Rock County and is one of the only nursing homes in south-central Wisconsin mandating its workers receive the vaccine, according to WISCTV. Local county board members told the station they plan to challenge the rule at the Jan. 28 meeting. 

"I don't think it's fair to proceed laying people off," said Brian Knudson, Rock County's human services board chair. "I also don't think that's fair on the other staff being doubled up on work potentially because now they're minus workers." 

Wisconsin's health department permits employers to mandate vaccines with religious and medical exemptions. 


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