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Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames announced to staff on Monday it would not be mandating the COVID vaccine at this time. The vaccine policy is under “ongoing discussion” and a mandate remains on the table, however.

The message said more than 85 percent of employees are vaccinated against COVID already, but the organization wants that number to grow. Typically, more than 95 percent of staff is vaccinated for the flu, and the hospital believes it should be able to reach a similar number for COVID.

“We understand that there is a diversity of opinions about the vaccine and vaccine mandates,” the letter states. “A survey of Mary Greeley staff was conducted Aug. 9-16 to provide insights into why some employees have not yet been vaccinated. According to the survey, the primary reasons for being unvaccinated are concerns about the newness of the vaccine and that it only has emergency approval from the FDA; health reasons, including staff who are or plan to be pregnant; and religious beliefs. While many employees indicated that they would never get the vaccine, just as many indicated that they wanted to wait until the FDA has officially approved the vaccine.”

Staff is strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, the email says.

“Vaccines are proven safe and effective,” the message states. “Getting vaccinated may be more important than ever due to the rise of the Delta variant, as well as the start of a new school year, including at Iowa State.

“In addition to vaccines, we know that masks and social distancing are effective in fighting the spread of COVID-19. It is imperative that we all continue to wear masks during this time of high community transmission. It will be expected that all unvaccinated employees continue to wear masks during times of low/moderate transmission.”

Employment openings at the facility can be found here.