INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The pushback against IU Health’s latest vaccine mandate is growing amongst employees.
Since the announcement that all employees will have to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 1, a petition has garnered thousands of signatures and a protest has been planned in hopes of changing the requirement.
IU Health employees and other health care workers from across the state are planning to protest at 3 p.m. Saturday on the canal, behind IU Fairbanks Hall. Protest organizers tell News 8 they are hoping not only to change IU Health’s decision but also the decisions of health care facilities across the country.
Traci Staley, an IU Health employee, started a Facebook group a week ago, and it’s already garnered the attention of more than 3,000 people.
She said she started it for those who had the same questions after IU Health sent the email to employees announcing that they would have to be vaccinated by Sept. 1 to remain employed.
“A lot of concerns that I have heard voiced to me are not only that it is not FDA-approved, but also that there is not a lot of long-term study. I mean there are no long-term studies on this right now,” said Staley.
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 mandate now has more than 8,400 signatures.
“But there are plenty of people that are still on the fence and they just want to have the right to make that choice,” said Staley. “The biggest issue is that employers really should not be able to mandate the medical choices that we make.”
When asked to comment on the planned protest and the increasing pushback from employees, IU Health sent the same statement from last week about vaccine mandates for health care employees not being new or unprecedented and added that “both Pfizer and Moderna have submitted their COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial study results for full FDA approval.”
“This is not at all a pro versus anti-vaccine issue. It is very much a freedom issue,” said Staley.
Staley says that their goal is to not only change the IU Health mandate but also to prevent other employers from requiring the COVID-19 vaccine.
“So really the main point that we want to drive home is just that we all deserve rights to bodily autonomy. We all deserve medical freedom. We should be able to make our own choices and we should not have our livelihood threatened as a result of not complying,” said Staley.
As of right now, IU Health employees are required to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 1 or file an exemption to be reviewed by July.