Protesters oppose COVID vaccine requirement at KU hospital

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A protest against the University of Kansas health system's COVID vaccine requirement began early Friday, September 17, 2021, outside the hospital.

A protest against the University of Kansas health system’s COVID vaccine requirement began early Friday, September 17, 2021, outside the hospital.

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A protest against the University of Kansas health system’s COVID vaccine requirement began early Friday morning outside the hospital.

Health workers stood outside the hospital with signs saying they opposed the requirement to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The healthcare system on Wednesday announced that vaccinations will be mandatory for employees, volunteers, students, temporary workers and contractors working at facilities in the Kansas City area, affecting 12,839 people.

All KU doctors must also be vaccinated, officials said.

Employees have until Dec. 1 to comply, but most are already vaccinated, according to the announcement.

During Friday morning’s briefing on the University of Kansas’ health care system, broadcast online, a representative from the hospital acknowledged the protest.

Hospital officials were aware of the protest in advance and made an effort to locate the protesters near W. 39th Avenue and Cambridge Street. Patients and employees should have no difficulty accessing the hospital, they said.

Mandatory vaccine

Several protesters pointed out that they are not anti-vaccine. They said they were against the mandate that everyone be vaccinated.

Earlier, KU officials had said they would consider a term after the vaccine was approved by federal authorities. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine received full approval for use in people 16 years of age and older on August 23.

Several healthcare organizations have approved mandatory vaccinations for healthcare professionals, including the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The University of Kansas Health System joined with two other Kansas City hospital systems on Wednesday in making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for employees.

Truman Medical Centers / University Health announced its tenure as an employee at the end of July. The Saint Luke Health System announced a similar requirement on Monday.

Hospital officials in KU and elsewhere point out that they already require certain vaccines for employees, including influenza, which helps keep patients and staff safe.

This story was originally published September 17, 2021 8:01 a.m.

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Robert A. Cronkleton gets up very early in the morning to bring readers the latest news on crime, transportation and the dawn weather. He has been with The Star since 1987 and now contributes to data reporting and video editing. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rockhurst College, where he studied communications and computer science.



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