Asante/Providence preparing for state’s vaccine mandate Monday

MEDFORD, Ore. – The deadline for Oregon healthcare workers and teachers to get vaccinated is quickly approaching. The state’s deadline is this coming Monday.

Some people are now choosing to leave the healthcare field because of the new requirement. NBC5 News spoke with local hospital officials to see if residents should expect any changes next week.

Oregon’s vaccine requirement for health care workers goes into effect Monday. But Asante representative Lauren Van Sickle said patients won’t be affected by next week’s changes. She said the vast majority of Asante employees are fully vaccinated, but the numbers aren’t final yet.

“Our vaccination rate among employees is nearing 88% that amounts to over 5,300 employees,” said Van Sickle.

Van Sickle said Asante believes the governor’s goal is to have a 100% vaccinated health care workforce. Other employees may be placed on leave or choose to end their employment.

Providence said 94% of its employees in Southern Oregon are vaccinated or have received a medical or religious exemption. Even inside the hospitals and medical facilities themselves, healthcare workers have mixed feelings.

“It’s a very dividing subject. It’s divisive for staff, the community but losing nurses in a time of an incredible nursing shortage already, and the number of nurses we will lose simply from burnout with all of [the] things related to covid over the past year and a half, that number is pretty significant,” said Susan Bruce back in Sept. 2021.

Healthcare isn’t the only industry affected by this requirement. State workers and teachers also need to get vaccinated or receive an approved exemption. Gov. Kate Brown addressed the issue in the Rogue Valley Thursday saying the state mandate is working as intended and making Oregonians safer.

“What we’re seeing is that Oregonians whether they work in the healthcare arena or work for state government or work in education are stepping up to get vaccinated. And frankly, it is our only pathway for the pandemic,” said Gov. Brown.

Both hospital systems said they’ll have official numbers Monday.

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