Podcast: episode 118

Aug 27, 2021

Vaccine mandates … now what?

Vaccine mandates … now what? Featuring Alan Shoebridge of Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare

Takeaways Vaccine mandates in the news States like Illinois and California have started to require schools and health systems to adopt vaccine mandates. Pfizer received official FDA approval this week for its COVID-19 vaccine, adding more credibility to vaccine mandates. Staffing, already a challenge faced by health systems, is becoming even more challenging with employee…

Takeaways

Vaccine mandates in the news

  • States like Illinois and California have started to require schools and health systems to adopt vaccine mandates.
  • Pfizer received official FDA approval this week for its COVID-19 vaccine, adding more credibility to vaccine mandates.
  • Staffing, already a challenge faced by health systems, is becoming even more challenging with employee vaccine mandate resistance. Nebraska state officials are under fire for recruiting nurses by waiving vaccine requirements, as this messaging undercuts healthcare professionals’ responsibility to protect community health.

Understanding your reputational risk starts with understanding your context

  • How your organization communicates about COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine mandates has everything to do with context – your market, the political climate, and the organization type.
  • While some states require health systems to impose mandates, others forbid health systems to impose vaccine mandates, making it challenging to align system COVID-19 efforts and mission.
  • Most of the healthcare community is on board with COVID-19 vaccines, yet the relatively small number of people who resist vaccines are incredibly vocal and socially active.
  • If your organization’s mission is to improve and protect community health, you may have to take a small reputation hit in the short term to protect your reputation in the long term.
  • Measure those short-term “hits” to your reputation through internal and external efforts such as town halls, conversations with policymakers, and community surveys.
  • The conversation goes beyond reputation alone. Health systems are responsible for upholding the health of their community, publish accurate information, and counter misinformation.

Challenges of state-imposed vaccine mandates

  • According to Alan Shoebridge, California’s state-imposed vaccine mandates for health systems helped maintain alignment between health systems.
  • One of the biggest challenges of meeting state vaccine requirements was creating a procedure for exemptions, communicating that procedure, and following through.
  • Religious exemptions, for example, can be a challenge because it requires health systems to understand and recognize value systems across religions and set clear definitions for a very personal topic.