Workers sue Kentucky hospital system over COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Published 9:30 pm Saturday, September 4, 2021

Several dozen employees of St. Elizabeth Healthcare have filed a federal lawsuit challenging a requirement they be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Covington, comes amid a surge in coronavirus cases — largely among unvaccinated patients — that threatens to overwhelm most Kentucky hospitals, the Courier Journal reported.

The suit follows a recent announcement by most of the state’s major hospital systems, including St. Elizabeth’s, based in northern Kentucky, that they would require vaccines for all workers without a medical or religious exemption to try control the surge of COVID-19 in Kentucky.

Public health officials repeatedly have declared the vaccines as safe and highly effective at preventing serious illness and death from COVID-19.

Dr. Steven Stack, Kentucky’s public health commissioner, has described the COVID-19 vaccines as a “miracle of modern science.”

But the lawsuit, filed by 40 employees of St. Elizabeth Healthcare, disputes that in a pleading with multiple attachments purporting to show the vaccines are unproven, experimental, ineffective and could result in serious side effects.

Further, it claims individuals should have a right to refuse vaccines and not be “coerced to participate in a medical experiment.”

A spokesman for St. Elizabeth’s didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.