Vaccine deadline takes effect for Ascension St. Vincent employees

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Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 5:49 PM CST
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Friday was the last day for Ascension St. Vincent employees to present proof of vaccination against COVID-19.

Sara Naegele is a clinical assistant with Ascension St. Vincent - at least for now.

Naegele told 14 News she chose not to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I’m still going to be an active employee until January 4,” Naegele said. “At that point, I’m going to be, quote, voluntarily terminated.”

She said that with Friday being the last day to present proof of vaccination, she will now be placed on an unpaid suspension.

All the while, Naegele said she will still receive health insurance through the hospital that she has to pay for.

Despite her choice not to be vaccinated, Naegele said she felt the whole setup is coercive.

“I’m not volunteering to do anything,” she said. “I’m not volunteering to leave.”

The hospital stated that as a health organization, they are requiring employees to be vaccinated to protect the health of their staff and patients.

Hospital officials claim they do allow some religious and medical exemptions for the COVID-19 vaccine. But several nurses told 14 News that’s not true.

Naegele said she applied for one, but was denied.

“The Holy Spirit that lives inside me says no,” she said. “I don’t have to follow by any other rules besides that.”

The hospital has previously stated their religious exemptions follow very similar guidelines to their religious exemptions for the number of other vaccines that have been required by the hospital for years.

Naegele said she had never filed for a religious exemption prior to now.

“It was not new,” she said. “I felt safer getting those vaccines.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the Food and Drug Administration, have approved several variations of the COVID-19 vaccine as safe and effective.

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