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Prisma Health and Lexington Medical suspend mandatory employee vaccines

Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 9:12 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The two biggest health care systems in Columbia are no longer requiring their healthcare workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Prisma Health and Lexington Medical Center announced they would pause mandatory vaccine protocol among employees Wednesday.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued an emergency regulation requiring all employees working in healthcare facilities to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. However, a federal judge ruled the mandate be suspended until legal issues can be resolved.

Before the ruling, if facilities didn’t comply they would be terminated from Medicare and Medicaid programs.

This comes at a time the new Omicron variant is ramping up, and President Joe Biden said the new variant is cause for concern, not panic.

“We knew there’d be cases in the US and it’s here and we have the best medicine and the best science.  We’re going to fight with science and speed, not chaos and confusion,” Biden said.

Prisma Health said in a statement, “Because of this preliminary injunction, we are suspending our Covid-19 team member vaccine requirement.  We will continue to monitor this situation. Prisma Health is committed to complying with all federal requirements.”

Lexington Medical Center also suspended its vaccine mandate saying, “Since a U.S. District Judge has issued a preliminary injunction against the CMS mandate that healthcare workers be vaccinated against Covid-19, Lexington Medical Center is pausing its Covid-19 vaccine requirement for employees. We will wait for the case to make its way through the courts to determine next steps.

Both healthcare systems say they have encouraged vaccines throughout the pandemic and continue to do so.

President Biden also said Thursday the United States would speed up sending vaccines to countries that need it. He said ultimately, by helping them, it helps Americans.

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