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IU Health suspends fewer than 300 unvaccinated workers

Workers will initially be placed on a two-week unpaid suspension and will be allowed to return to work if they provide proof of a partial or full vaccination.

INDIANAPOLIS — UPDATE: Less than an hour after an IU Health spokesperson gave figures to 13News putting the number of employees suspended at more than 1,000, a revised update was put out placing the number at fewer than 300.

Wednesday marked the deadline given by IU Health for its 36,000 employees to abide by the COVID-19 vaccine requirement. On Thursday, IU Health told 13News most of its its doctors, nurses and other staff had been vaccinated.

That left fewer than 300 workers now in jeopardy of losing their jobs. They will initially be placed on a two-week unpaid suspension. 

RELATED: VERIFY: Yes, if you are fired for not getting a required vaccine, you can be denied unemployment benefits

During that time, health leaders say they will be allowed to return to work if they provide proof of a partial or full vaccination.

IU Health said employees will be allowed to apply for a deferral or exemption from the vaccine based on medical or religious reasons. Those applications will be reviewed on an individual basis.

In a statement to 13News, IU Health said in part:

Vaccinating team members is a safe and effective way to protect patients and help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in facilities and in the community.

In June, a federal court ruling upheld the right of private employers to require all of their employees to get the COVID-19 shots, just as employers have already been permitted to order employees to get flu shots and other vaccines.

As it is under the ruling, workers have no rights of refusal, at all, other than to prove they have a religious or medical exemption; or they can simply quit. 

The ruling confirms an earlier EEOC decision that all private employers can legally order their employees to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless the worker has a religious or medical exemption.  

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