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It’s time
Mandates or not, more people need to get the COVID-19 vaccine

Last Friday, officials in the Kansas Legislature formally approved the final details of a $50 million program providing bonuses for nurses and other hospital staff. Federal aid for COVID-19 response is used.

Senate President Ty Masterson, R-Andover, wanted to penalize hospitals that have a vaccine mandate, making them ineligible for funds.

Kansas hospitals are filled with COVID-19 patients. The pandemic is not over.

This was not a case where hospitals were given a mandate from the Legislature to require vaccines. Masterson wanted them to be punished if they chose to mandate vaccines. The reasoning was that staff might quit rather than face a vaccine mandate, and hospitals shouldn’t be recognized for infringing on their employees’ personal freedoms. 

The state’s four largest hospitals have mandated vaccines. That includes the University of Kansas Health System, Stormont Vail, Ascension Via Christi and LMH Health.

Those who are tasked with safeguarding the health of others, including those who work in hospitals, clinics and long-term care facilities, should not be a threat to their coworkers or those in their care. Some of us would like to see workers in schools and stores and restaurants – that is, anyone we come in contact with – vaccinated. For that matter, anyone who comes in contact with animals, such as zoo employees, would do a service by being vaccinated. Animals can get COVID-19, too.

For many, President Biden’s executive orders will make this a moot issue or, more likely, a court issue. Admittedly, mandating vaccinations will add to the worker shortage and create a new level of red tape for every employer or business that is forced to verify them. But the question remains for those who haven’t gotten the vaccine: What are you waiting for?