After much anti-science shouting from a minority of its employees, Sanford Health noted last week that 97% of its workers had complied with its coronavirus vaccine requirement and thus reduced coronavirus infections:
The company, which bills itself as one of the largest rural health care systems in the country, has a total of about 48,000 employees. Based on its estimates, fewer than 1,500 employees system-wide remained unvaccinated.
More than 90 percent of clinicians and 70 percent of nurses in the organization were already fully vaccinated when the mandate was announced this summer, system officials said. Sanford officials on Friday would only provide the overall vaccination rate among all employees.
“The vaccine mandate has worked,” Dr. Doug Griffin, Sanford’s vice president and medical officer in Fargo, said in a statement. “As a result of our high employee vaccination rate, we have also seen a decline in Covid-19 infections and sick leave among staff” [“Sanford: 97% of Workforce Complying with Vaccine Mandate,” AP via MPR News, 2021.10.29].
Many of those 1,500 foot-draggers appear to have gotten their priorities straight. On Monday’s deadline for all employees to get their shots or get an exemption, only 82 resistors remained for Sanford to suspend:
The number of those suspended varies across Sanford’s footprint, and totals less than 1% of its workforce, Sanford Health noted.
- 31 in Fargo
- 28 in Sioux Falls
- 16 in Bismarck
- 7 in Bemidji
None of the 31 suspended in Sanford’s Fargo region were physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners or certified registered nurse anesthetists, said Dr. Doug Griffin, Sanford Fargo vice president and medical officer, in a statement [Jeremy Fugleberg, “Sanford Suspends Just 82 for Refusing Covid-19 Vaccine; less than 1% of Workforce,” Fargo Inforum, 2021.11.01].
Health care systems around the country are reporting comparably small percentages of vaccine refuseniks. So is the New York Police Department:
Only a few a dozen NYPD members were placed on unpaid leave Monday after refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine — but thousands of unvaccinated employees remain on the job with pending exemption requests, the city’s top cop said.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said 34 cops and 40 civilian members of the force — which account for fewer than .15 percent of NYPD employees — did not comply with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s mandate requiring most city workers to get their first jab by Monday.
“That’s very fluid. That could go up as the day goes on,” said Shea, referring to NYPD members forced on unpaid leave, while adding that applications for medical or religious exemptions are still pending [Craig McCarthy and Tina Moore, “Here’s How Many NYPD Cops Are on Unpaid Leave over Vax Mandate,” New York Post, 2021.11.01].
Those low suspension numbers send a pretty clear message to managers of organizations committed to protecting and serving the public: if your employees are howling about your organization’s vaccine mandate, call their bluff. Most will realize that their anti-science shouting and political posturing isn’t worth losing a good job. The few who still would put their anti-science partisanship ahead of the safety of the people they signed on to serve are liabilities to your organization and should get the boot.