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State Health Commissioner Not For Or Against Hospital Workforce COVID Vaccine Mandates

Oklahoma State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lance Frye addresses reporters during a virtual press briefing on Friday, July 9.

With more hospital systems in the state announcing requirements for their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to keep their jobs, Oklahoma's top health official said Friday he does not support or oppose such policies.

"We're supporting vaccination," state health commissioner Dr. Lance Frye told reporters during a virtual press briefing Friday, asked whether he supported recent announcements from Mercy, OU Health and SSM in Oklahoma City that they would require proof of vaccination from their staff members.

"I don't think we should get into the supporting or not supporting actions by individual organizations," Frye said.

Frye said he personally did not view requiring medical personnel be vaccinated against COVID much differently than requiring flu shots, a common practice in hospitals.

Frye said the state health department would not interfere with hospitals that do implement requirements.

On Monday, representatives from Tulsa's Hillcrest HealthCare System, Saint Francis Health System and Ascension St. John each told Public Radio Tulsa they do not require COVID vaccinations of their employees at this time.

Chris joined Public Radio Tulsa as a news anchor and reporter in April 2020. He’s a graduate of Hunter College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, both at the City University of New York.
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