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ONA wants nurses with valid vax exemptions to be accommodated, not fired

Oregon Nurses Association

Oregon’s largest nursing organization says it’s concerned that some hospitals are denying nurses’ religious exemptions from COVID-19 vaccination --and adding to a growing staffing crisis.

The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) supports the vaccine mandate for all health care workers. They report, statewide, the rate of vaccination for Registered Nurses is already over 90%.

At the same time, the ONA argues that hospital systems must take medical and religious exemption requests seriously.

Kevin Mealy is spokesperson for ONA. “PeaceHealth in particular, was in a staffing crisis long before the pandemic started," he said. "And adding additional strain to ICU nurses to ER nurses—watching their colleagues have to leave even if their exemption is approved-- makes a dire situation all that much worse.”

Mealy said the ONA is in current talks with PeaceHealth management and urges hospitals to accommodate nurses with valid, approved exemptions.

Those accommodations include testing requirements, increased personal protective equipment (PPE) and shifting nurses from patient care to non-patient facing positions, Mealy said.

Credit Oregon Nurses Association

Copyright 2021 KLCC.

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.
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