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Residents react to Piedmont Columbus Regional requiring employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19

A local hospital is requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated in order to continue working.
Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 10:02 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A local hospital is requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated in order to continue working. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, employers can legally require their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccination to re-enter the workplace.

News Leader 9 spoke with people across Columbus about the hospital’s announcement and the possibility of employers requiring employees to get the COVID-19 shot to come back to work. Some people said it’s a violation of their rights, while others don’t have a problem with it. According to the statement, leaders, physicians, providers and new employees will have to get vaccinated by September 1.

The statement reads as follows:

“I don’t want to be forced to have to take no vaccination,” said Jerry Davis, a Columbus man.

Another Columbus man, Peyton Sanders, said, “Absolutely I think it’s fair. It takes care of your customers, especially in places like restaurants and everything and places like downtown, and then even like just taking care of your employees as well.”

A woman who didn’t want to release her name said, “I think that’s good on them to try to protect their employees and try to keep their patients safe too. I really respect the science behind the vaccine, and I trust the science behind the vaccine, and I think that if it meant me keeping my job, then I’d be all for it.”

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, employers have the right to make vaccines mandatory to re-enter the workplace or offer incentives like raises to encourage employees to get the shot. It’s not just hosptials requiring employees to get vaccinated.

In Uptown Columbus, Scruffy Murphy’s Irish Pub owner Breda Gleeson declined to go on camera, but she told News Leader 9 she will be requiring her staff get the vaccine to come back to work. She said she has been closed since Saint Patrick’s Day last year and is gearing up to re-open her doors in the next few weeks.

“It’s a forced way of thinking,” said Gavin Stutts. “If I get it I do get this raise but if I don’t get it I lose my job, or where do I get my next pay check or food?

Devin Emmerson said, “For safety reasons, I understand, but I guess you got to weigh your options.”

Kenyata Turner told News Leader 9, “I’m not getting no COVID vaccine period because I don’t know what’s in it.”

According to the the statement released by Piedmont Columbus Regional, everyone who works there will be required to be vaccinated in the near future, however it goes on to say there will be a few rare exceptions.

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