The Corner

Health Care

Hospital Chain Won’t Require Employees Who Had COVID-19 to Get Vaccinated

Syringes of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at a pop-up community vaccination center in Valley Stream, N.Y., February 23, 2021. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

A hospital chain in Pennsylvania announced a revised policy that seems like a reasonable recognition that certain employees who caught and fought off COVID-19 might not want to get vaccinated, and prefer to stick with natural immunity. And for a lot of employers, that kind of immunity is good enough:

St. Luke’s University Health Network is allowing employees who already had COVID-19 to defer getting the COVID-19 vaccine due to the natural immunity they have against the virus.

St. Luke’s announced Aug. 9 that it was implementing a vaccine mandate for all employees, as well as everyone who conducts business in the health care organization. Under St. Luke’s new policy, individuals who were infected with COVID-19 and recovered can defer their shots for up to 12 months from the date tested positive.

It may not be the only health network in the Lehigh Valley to adopt this policy. Brian Downs, spokesperson for Lehigh Valley Health Network, said network leadership is considering allowing employees to defer vaccinations if they have a natural immunity to COVID-19.

What’s the argument against this policy going to be, that this hospital chain doesn’t understand human health?

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