While not everyone may agree with them, COVID-19 vaccine mandates on employees appear to be working based on a growing rate of inoculations being reported by companies across the country.
For example, since the Aug. 2 vaccine deadline, Kaiser Permanente is reporting an overall employee and physician rate of more than 92%. Prior to the deadline, the COVID-19 vaccination rate was 78%.
According to a Kaiser union spokesperson, prior to the deadline, 75 San Diego union employees with Kaiser were not vaccinated. That number has now dropped to five unvaccinated workers.
One of them is Rosalie GrosVentre, who still believes the mandates are a threat to her freedom of choice.
“I struggled quite a bit with the mandate. My freedom of choice, I felt, was being taken away. I was concerned with some adverse events that had been reported that directly affect me,” said GrosVentre.
GrosVentre, 49, has worked with the pharmacy team for Kaiser since Dec.1996. She says she ultimately chose to get vaccinated because she didn’t want to lose her job or health benefits.
“I like my job. I’ve been there a very long time. I plan to be there for many more years. Our benefits are great, my co-workers are great, it’s a good place to be. I’m not willing to let that go,” said GrosVentre.
GrosVentre says she was relieved when the Pfizer vaccine gained full FDA approval. She says she received her first shot on Sept. 9, and then her second on Sept. 30, just in time to meet an Oct. 1st deadline imposed by the state. She says she was fearful because she has a history of facial paralysis. In the end, she said she had a sore arm and a change in her menstrual cycle.
“I’m at peace with it. This is what I have to do. I’m not going to lose my job, it’s a decision I had to make and I’m not going to be negative about it,” said GrosVentre.
But while an increase in employee vaccination rates would seem to indicate mandates work. Some employees are still choosing not to get vaccinated, at a huge cost.
At Scripps Health, for example, 35-San Diego employees have been terminated for failure to comply with the mandate.
According to a Scripps Health spokesperson, terminated employees still have until Nov. 1 to get vaccinated.
GrosVentre says she empathizes with the tough decision made by those employees who lost their jobs.
“I don’t know them, but I support them. It’s a tough decision, but if they could do it, have the support to do it, that’s great,” said GrosVentre.
A spokesperson for Kaiser says as of Oct. 4, just over 2,200 have not responded to the vaccine requirement, and have been put on unpaid administrative leave across the country.
“Those not responding have until Dec.1, 2021, to do so to be able to return to work. We hope none of our employees will choose to leave their jobs rather than be vaccinated, but we won’t know with certainty until then. We will continue to work with this group of employees to allay concerns and educate them about the vaccines, their benefits and risks,” read a statement from the company.