Medical Groups Will Require Employees Vaccinate

During a Thursday news conference in the Kentucky Capitol Rotunda, Governor Andy Beshear called on private sector business leaders to require a COVID vaccination. Several healthcare organizations announced that they would require employees to get fully vaccinated before September 15.

On Monday, the governor ordered new mask guidelines at state-run hospitals.

Beshear called Thursday’s announcement with a united front of healthcare providers “a pivotal moment in the battle with COVID-19.”

He said the only way to convince some Kentuckians to take the vaccine is if their private-sector employer requires it. Eleven hospitals have issued such a mandate. Kentucky Department of Public Health (KDPH) Commissioner Doctor Steven Stack said the group represents about 75% of the commonwealth’s hospital beds.

Appalachian Regional Healthcare, King’s Daughters, St. Claire Healthcare, Baptist Health, Med Center Health, St. Elizabeth Healthcare, University of Kentucky Healthcare, Chi Saint Joseph Health, Norton Healthcare, Pikeville Medical Center, and University of Louisville Health officials spoke in support of mandatory vaccinations. All will require their workers to be vaccinated by September 15.

Stack also showed statements from long-term care organizations, the Kentucky Hospital Association, Kentucky Medical Association, and Kentucky Nurses Association. Those statements also called on all healthcare workers to get vaccinated by September 15.

Beshear added an incentive for more state employees to get vaccinated ‒ one additional vacation day for the fully vaccinated.

The governor said he is monitoring hospitalization numbers statewide and that they will factor into any decision about expanded mask mandates in the state.

While the exact number of cases was unavailable, Beshear said more than 2,000 Kentuckians currently have COVID-19. The positivity rate is above 10%.