Pennsylvania healthcare workers petition against mandatory vaccination

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Some employees at Penn Medicine Lancaster (Pa.) General Health are petitioning against a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, according to LancasterOnline

Grassroot organizers Pennsylvania Informed Consent Advocates and Free PA are behind the petition drive, and it is unclear how many employees are resisting the vaccine mandate, according to the report. The organizers did not respond to requests from LancasterOnline for comment.

Lancaster General Health, a four-hospital health system, is part of Philadelphia-based University of Pennsylvania Health System, which announced its vaccination mandate for employees in May. As part of the mandate, employees and clinical staff are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by no later than Sept. 1. New hires also must provide proof of at least one dose two weeks before beginning work. University of Pennsylvania Health System is offering exemptions for medical or religious reasons, similar to the health system's long-standing flu vaccine policy.

Eric Winter, a Berks County attorney advising Lancaster General Health employees, told LancasterOnline those against the mandate are "of the belief that individuals should be able to choose for themselves whether or not to get the vaccine, not their employer."

University of Pennsylvania Health System highlighted the importance of vaccination.

"As an institution grounded in the science and art of healthcare, we believe it is imperative for the University of Pennsylvania Health System to take the lead in requiring employee vaccinations to protect our patients and staff and to set an example to the broader community as we work together to end the COVID-19 pandemic," the health system said in May.

John Lines, a hospital spokesperson, told LancasterOnline that Lancaster General Health will continue providing information to employees about vaccine safety and efficacy and the mandate, as well as the possible exemptions.

As of May 19, more than 33,000 University of Pennsylvania Health System employees (nearly 70 percent) were fully vaccinated. 

Read the full LancasterOnline report here

 

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