Hospitals in Northwest Arkansas considering mandatory vaccinations

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – While the Arkansas Department of Health admits twelve hundred new confirmed COVID-19 cases are concerning, it’s not enough to put public health guidelines back on the discussion board.  

“Some of that is because it was the day after a three-day weekend, so there’s a delay of when people get tested and when it comes back. But we’ve been trending in the wrong direction,” said Dr. Joel Tumlison, the physician in outbreak response for the ADH. 

However, we have seen hospitals like Mercy take it upon themselves to protect their own employees by requiring vaccinations. A policy UAMS tells me they might not be far behind. 

“Unfortunately because we were a state entity we have to go down to the legislator and ask for permission to make vaccination mandatory, and we are preparing to take that step,” said Chancellor for UAMS, Dr. Cam Patterson. 

It’s not just UAMS whos looking to the future, Arkansas Children’s Northwest is also looking into similar protocols.  

“We’re having those discussions, as is every other hospital in the state. As stewards of health for everybody in the state, I feel like it’s our responsibility to set the example and to do what we can to encourage others to vaccinate,” said Chief Medical Officer for Arkansas Children’s Northwest, Dr. Robert Williams.  

While hospitals in Northwest Arkansas are taking the steps to make sure they’re safe, the ADH said even though there are no public health mandates you should still take the necessary steps to protect yourself. 

“As you said we’ve read this book before, but the good part of having read the book already is knowing things that we can do. Masking is one, keeping more space, if we’re gonna have a gathering have it outside instead of inside,” said Dr. Tumlison. 

We also spoke to several employment agencies, they said they wouldn’t be surprised if businesses outside of healthcare also require vaccinations in the near future.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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