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Health Care News Sussex County

After injunction, TidalHealth pauses vaccine requirement

Katie Tabeling

TidalHealth Nanticoke in Seaford | PHOTO COURTESY OF TIDALHEALTH

SEAFORD — TidalHealth has become the latest health care system to announce it will also pause a hard vaccine mandate in light of a federal injunction, impacting the 2,800 employees at TidalHealth Nanticoke.

TidalHealth, like Beebe Healthcare and Bayhealth, was subjected to a nationwide policy implemented by the Biden administration that required all health care workers at facilities that receive Medicaid/Medicare funding be vaccinated by Jan. 4.

“It is important to remember that this injunction is temporary and legal challenges are expected. TidalHealth will monitor the current court ruling until a final decision is rendered,” TidalHealth spokesman Roger Follebout told the Delaware Business Times. “We still encourage vaccination and recommend that anyone with questions speak with a health care provider.”

TidalHealth had quietly moved to follow and keep vaccine deadlines in the federal policy which was announced last month. Under the federal policy, that required TidalHealth employees to receive at least one shot by Dec. 6.

“If team members have started a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine series in anticipation of the mandate, we encourage them to continue it and get their second shot to become fully vaccinated,” Follebout added. “Team members who have announced their intentions to separate from the health system are being encouraged to re-evaluate that decision with this new announcement.”

The health care system requires testing of all its staff under Delaware regulations prior to the Biden administration’s policy, and it will continue doing so for the foreseeable future. TidalHealth would not share any information about how much its workforce is vaccinated at this point.

TidalHealth’s announcement comes just hours after the revelation that Bayhealth and Beebe would no longer require vaccines among their staff at this time. Earlier this year, Beebe Healthcare President and CEO David Tam said that he did not see the need for an ultimatum for its staff.

But faced with the federal policy, Beebe instituted a Dec. 24 vaccination deadline which is now nullified.

Neither Bayhealth or TidalHealth made any public announcements about vaccine requirements until this week.

The three central and southern Delaware hospitals comprise about 8,200 employees, according to Delaware Business Times records.

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