Bay County commissioner expresses concerns over vaccine mandate impacting nursing students

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 6:26 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Bay County Commissioner Tommy Hamm is speaking out against a vaccine mandate for a local hospital.

During Tuesday’s Bay County Commission meeting, Hamm said the mandate at Ascension Sacred Heart Bay is impacting nursing students in the area. He says members of the community told him nursing students are required by the state to get clinical hours in a hospital in order to graduate with their degree.

He said if the students choose not to get the vaccine, they’ll be unable to do their clinical hours.

”They have to do clinicals at a hospital, they do not have a choice,” Commissioner Tommy Hamm said. “These people have many, many years under their belt of hard work to be able to become a nurse and then they hit this arbitrary brick wall.”

NewsChannel 7 reached out to Ascension Sacred Heart Bay about their vaccination mandate. A spokesperson replied in an email to us saying, “Ascension will require that all associates be vaccinated against COVID-19, whether or not they provide direct patient care, and whether they work in our sites of care or remotely. This includes associates employed by subsidiaries and partners; physicians and advanced practice providers, whether employed or independent; and volunteers and vendors entering Ascension facilities.

“Our timeline for completing the vaccine series and meeting this requirement will be Nov. 12, 2021. This timing is aligned with Ascension’s annual influenza vaccination requirement.”

You can read their full vaccine policy here.

Officials from Ascension also said nursing students will be required to be vaccinated to do clinicals in the hospital.

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