MEMPHIS, Tenn. — For many Memphis hospitals workers, November 1st is the deadline day to get the COVID-19 vaccine or face the possibility of being terminated.

But apparently some people working in healthcare are deciding to leave their jobs. We found several Facebook posts alleging hundreds of hospital suspensions, staffing shortages and bed closures because of the requirements.  

It was back during the summer when several hospital systems notified their employees that the vaccine was being recommended and told us why. WREG reached out to several hospital systems.

Baptist said of its more than 19,000 employees, it’s had 98% compliance with its vaccine program.

“I think all of the hospitals locally right now are focusing on putting everything we can out there to convince people to do it because it’s the right thing to do,” said Baptist Hospital’s Infectious Disease Specialist Steve Threlkeld.

Baptist says “We value all of our team members and do not wish to see any of them leave. If they have a change of heart about the COVID-19 vaccine, they have the opportunity to return to Baptist.”

Methodist Le Bonheur Health Care says “We are incredibly proud of the Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare Associates and providers who fulfilled their duty to deliver the safest possible care for the patients we are privileged to serve. Safety has been and will always be our first priority. As of today, 97% of our workforce has elected to get vaccinated against COVID-19. We had hoped everyone would answer the call to get the vaccine. However, we respect their right to make a different decision.”

WREG spoke with City Council Members Chase Carlisle and Rhonda Logan about vaccine mandates and workers.

“So, trying to engage in communities, in first responders, and do vaccine education and outreach is somewhere where we need to stay on versus mandates and firing and forcing people’s hands,” Councilman Carlisle said.

“I think education and building trust is going to be vital in getting more people vaccinated. I don’t think we should be mandating those types of things because our labor market is at a critical state,” said Councilwoman Logan.

It is a critical time for the labor market and for hospital care. For some people it’s not a recommendation, it’s a requirement.