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Viewpoint: Health system vaccination requirements for employees

On this Viewpoint, two St. Luke's doctors with opposing views lay out their arguments for and against the vaccination requirement for employees.

BOISE, Idaho — Three of the largest health systems in southern Idaho, St. Luke's, Saint Alphonsus and Primary Health, announced their employees have been given September deadlines to either get vaccinated against COVID-19. 

In some cases, employees who do not receive the vaccine will be required to be tested for COVID-19 frequently, but some may face termination.

Leaders of the health systems argue that vaccinating health workers is critical to protecting patients and workers and guaranteeing there will be enough healthy staff members to care for patients as the delta variant continues to spread. 

Employees can seek exemptions for religious and medical reasons.
Other vaccinations, such as the yearly flu shot, are already required. 

Idaho is a work "at-will" state, which means an employee can quit for any reason, and an employer can fire an employee for any reason.

The vaccination requirement decision prompted several large protests outside of St. Luke's, Saint Alphonsus and Primary Health over the past several weeks. Among other reasons, opponents argue it's not fair to tie their choices about their own health to their employment and that it could lead to staffing shortages.

The protestors that spoke to KTVB say these were not anti-vaccine protests, but rather a protest for individual choice.

On this edition of Viewpoint, St. Luke's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Medical Director, Dr. Derrick Dauplaise, explains why he opposes the vaccination requirement for employees.

Plus, St. Luke's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jim Souza, lays out St. Luke's arguments for issuing the vaccination requirement.

Viewpoint airs at 9 a.m. every Sunday following Meet The Press.

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