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Suspended IU Health worker denied exemption from COVID vaccine awaits destiny

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Tiffney Huddleston is waiting to learn her fate.

She’s been suspended from her job in the medical-surgical unit at an IU Health hospital for not getting a COVID-19 vaccination.

Huddleston said she isn’t sure why she wasn’t fired with 125 employees last week but, before the deadline, she tried to fight the hospital group’s mandate that all workers be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

“I applied for the exemption, like multiple times, for medical and religious reasons, and I got denied each time,” Huddleston said.

When that didn’t work, she said, she suggested the company provide weekly testing for staff who didn’t feel comfortable getting the shot. That was also an option President Joe Biden gave to companies when he announced a vaccine requirement for businesses with 100 or more employees.

“The hospital that I work at they have in the parking lot right next to me the COVID, like, testing place, so it’s not like it would be an issue for any of the employees to walk across the street to get tested, and I find it very hard to believe that they would refuse to do that versus lose their job,” Huddleston said.

IU Health has around 36,000 employees.

The next two hospital groups with fast approaching vaccine deadlines are Eskenazi and Ascension. Eskenazi employees had until midnight Monday and Ascension’s deadline is Nov. 12.

News 8 reached out to Eskenazi about what it was expecting come Tuesday. The hospital wouldn’t share much about its process until after it had a better idea of how many employees are impacted.