Alabama Health Care Group Halts COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate on Staff

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An Alabama health care group suspended its plan to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for its staff, saying it must follow the law and wait for detailed federal guidance.

Facing the threat of a lawsuit, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Health System announced that it stopped requiring health care workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19, a disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

“President [Joe] Biden issued an executive order Sept. 9 indicating that federal rules and regulations will be issued in the coming weeks that will require COVID vaccines for workers at health care facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid dollars. Because UAB Health System must follow federal law, UAB Health System will remove its vaccine policy at this time,” Sarah Nafziger, M.D., senior vice president of UAB Medicine, said in a statement issued on Sept. 17.

“UAB Health System will wait for the detailed federal guidance to develop a replacement vaccine policy in order to ensure full compliance with federal law,” Nafziger added.

In August, Nafziger announced that UAB Health System employees and people working in its hospital and clinics would be required to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 12.

As one of Alabama’s largest employers, UAB Health System directly employs over 20,000 individuals, full-time and part-time combined.

A conservative public-interest firm, Alabama Center for Law and Liberty (ACLL), demanded the health care group stop the COVID-19 vaccine mandate and threatened to bring a lawsuit if it did not do so.

“As the Supreme Court of Alabama has recognized, UAB Hospital is a state-run hospital. Consequently, UAB Hospital may not require its employees to disclose whether they have been vaccinated or not,” ACLL president Matthew Clark said in a letter (pdf) sent to UAB Health System on Sept. 10, saying Alabama’s new law prohibits state entities from mandating the vaccine.

In May, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, signed Senate Bill 267 (pdf) into law, prohibiting state entities from requiring vaccination or proof of vaccination as a condition for receiving any government service or for entry into a government building.

By Li Hai

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