Some workers at some Tri-State companies voice opposition to COVID-19 vaccine requirements

Coronavirus Watch

(WEHT) More companies are adding COVID-19 vaccination requirements for their workers. That includes some in the Tri-State.

Eleven health care providers in Kentucky, including Baptist health, will soon require their workers to be vaccinated.

Later this year, Baptist Health employees must be vaccinated, joining Tyson, Ascension and other companies making it mandatory. But some workers at some Tri-State companies don’t think it should be mandatory.

“There’s people that have been there for years upon years and it’s now based on if you don’t do this, you can’t work here,” said Willie McClure, whose wife works at Tyson, and he contracts with the company. He says making COVID-19 vaccines mandatory is a bad idea because it adds pressure to those who are still unsure of getting one.

“I just wish that they wouldn’t push us as hard on us on this and put our jobs at risk and, you know, it takes a lot to survive in a world without money these days,” he said.

In a statement, Tyson officials say less than half of workers are vaccinated, and the step was taken because nothing was more important than their workers’ safety. An online petition opposing Baptist Health’s vaccine requirement has about seven thousand signatures. The F.D.A. Has not given full approval to any vaccine. But Baptist Health CEO Gerard Colman says the health care provider must lead by example, and getting vaccinated is ethical and responsible.

“We do take that not lightly, we do that as a serious part of our mission to really not only reduce the spread, but reduce illness for all the people we serve and our caregivers,” he said during Thursday’s press conference in Frankfort.

Governor Andy Beshear says private sector efforts such as those at Tyson and Baptist Health may be the key getting more people vaccinated, and bringing an end to the pandemic.

“I think the fact is clear that with private sector leadership, we see more individuals getting vaccinated that we otherwise could not reach as state government,” he said.

Baptist Health employees must be vaccinated by the end of October, while all Tyson employees must be vaccinated by November 1st.

(This story was originally published on August 5, 2021)

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