Idaho Legislature Must Respond to Saint Alphonsus Shot Mandate
The decision by Saint Alphonsus to mandate vaccinations to all employees or face termination must be met by a response from the Idaho Legislature. The decision was from their parent company Trinity Health.
We urged the legislature to follow the example of other states passing laws to protect Idahoans from mandatory vaccinations. Our politicians ignored the people who didn't want to be forced to choose between their careers and concerns over taking the shot.
As reported by my colleague Mateo here, Saint Alphonsus employees have until September 21st of this year to comply. Otherwise, it's termination time. There are a few loopholes that we've found in the release. The first one has to do with religion. Here it is from the release: Exemptions are available for religious or health reasons and must be formally requested, documented and approved. Employees who do not meet criteria for exemption and fail to show proof of vaccination will have their employment terminated.
We've also uncovered that Oregon will not require Saint Alphonsus workers to get the shot. Why? Because Oregon has a state law against employers forcing their workers to take the poke. From the Saint Alphonsus release: Saint Alphonsus will require vaccinations for all colleagues in Idaho and encourages vaccines for its colleagues in Oregon, as Oregon law does not permit healthcare employers from requiring vaccinations.
From our friends at Oregon Pubic Broadcasting: A decades-old state law, however, says that employers of health care workers must provide — but not mandate — immunization for infectious disease. These employers can only require vaccination if it is otherwise called for by state or federal law. (COVID-19 vaccination isn't.)
Natalie Pattison, an attorney at Barran Liebman LLP, said Oregon employers should pay attention to this law, which defines "health care worker" fairly broadly.
"Obviously these are the workplaces that would be most likely to want to require it and be the most at risk," she said.
Governor Little should call the legislature back in session to pass an emergency bill to protect Idahoans. Otherwise, it's Saint Al's today and your employer tomorrow.