Ascension mandates employee vaccines

By Megan Wehring 

HAYS COUNTY — Employees at Ascension hospitals are now required to be vaccinated against both COVID-19 and the flu. 

The hospital network, which includes Seton Hays in Kyle, announced in July that employees would need to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 12 to remain employed. This mandate is aligned with Ascension’s annual flu vaccination requirement. 

“We want patients to be assured and comforted,” Seton Hays said in a statement,  “with the knowledge that Ascension Texas doctors and nurses, other clinicians and associates, working in one of our hospitals or other sites of care, will either be vaccinated against both COVID-19 and influenza, or in the limited instances of exemptions, be complying with additional infection prevention protocols.” 

A patient care technician, who wishes to remain anonymous, said he is worried that mandating the vaccine will cause insufficient staff numbers.

“I feel like it’s unfair,” the technician said. “They know some people don’t have it. They know we don’t have staff and they are okay with cutting people.”

He has watched some employees walk away from their jobs but the technician said he will stay at the hospital for now.

Not everybody is against the mandate. 

Stephanie Segovia, a nurse at a Texas clinic, said health care personnel should be vaccinated. 

“I think this is great,” Segovia said. “If you work in a hospital, you should be willing to make sure you do not get others sick. So, being vaccinated against COVID and the flu is one step to help our community fight these two illnesses.”

Jayne Baker, a retired Hays CISD teacher, also agrees with the mandate. She said that masks and vaccinations are public health decisions that are made to keep all members of the community safe.

“The thought that health care personnel would choose to endanger their patients and their medical facilities is baffling to me,” Baker said. “The terrible experiences that have been reported by health care workers [including]the long hours, the fear of contaminating their families and the devastation of the illness itself make it even more strange that any of them would object to masks and vaccines.”

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Megan Navarro (Wehring) graduated from Texas State University in May 2020 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. In June 2020, she started a summer internship at the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch through the Dow Jones News Fund and Texas Press Association. She then earned her way to a reporter position later that summer and now, she serves as the editor of the newspaper. Working for a small publication, Navarro wears multiple hats. She has various responsibilities including managing a team of reporters, making editorial decisions, overseeing social media posts, fact checking, writing her own articles and more. Navarro has a heart for storytelling and she believes that journalists are equipped to share the stories that are important to the community.

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