LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Requiring employees at Nevada colleges and universities to get the COVID-19 vaccine — that is the big decision on the table this week, but it is causing some controversy.
The Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents meets on Thursday, Sept. 30 to vote on the mandate. The Board of Regents’ decision would affect campuses such as UNLV.
8 News Now spoke to some UNLV employees, who wanted to remain anonymous, who are against the potential COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all NSHE employees.
They say they are not “anti-vaxxers” — they just want the right to choose.
“I’m really upset about it all,” said S, an anonymous UNLV employee. “I think it goes against our rights of bodily autonomy, medical freedom.”
The policy (enclosed below) would require employees to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 1.
According to documents obtained by 8 News Now, “Failure of an employee to comply with the Employee COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement constitutes cause for termination of employment.” Some are willing to take that step.
“The idea of being fired is astonishing to me, but I’ll tell you right now, I’ll do it. I’ll do it to fight for the people,” anonymous employee S said.
Medical or religious exemptions will be considered. Employees would need to fill out forms with all the proper information in order to make that happen. But some say they should not even need to ask to get an exemption.
“I don’t want somebody telling me you have to do this or you’re going to lose your job. I’ve worked for UNLV for over 20 years,” said M, another anonymous UNLV employee.
The latest data from NSHE shows that as of September 20, the COVID-19 vaccination rate of all NSHE employees is 77.2%. That means around 1 in 5 NSHE employees is unvaccinated. Some other employees say if everyone got the COVID-19 vaccine, they would feel safer.
“I chose to get it because I believe in the science and the technology that’s behind it,” said Jason Wasden, Executive Director of Government Affairs at UNLV.
Heather Addition, Chair of the UNLV Film Department, added, “I personally do support vaccination mandates, but I also think they’re good for the university and good for the community.”
Still, those against a mandate want there to be an alternative.
“Maybe new hires. Build it as a new policy,” anonymous employee S said.
Again, the NSHE Board of Regents meets Thursday, Sept. 30 for final approval of the employee vaccine mandate.
If it goes through, employees who do not comply will get the first write-up on October 15, a second write-up on November 1, and a notice of termination on December 1.
For a closer look at NSHE policy click HERE.