Vaccinated Staff Can Choose to Wear Black Reel Designating Vaccination Status
MARSHFIELD, WI (OnFocus) – Last week, Marshfield Clinic Health System mandated all staff get the COVID-19 vaccine by November 15. Marshfield Clinic Health System (MCHS) staff have the option to wear ID badge reels that identify them as “vaccinated.” Employees can provide a copy of their vaccine card or submit their medical information to receive a black badge reel indicating they have been vaccinated.
“Similar to what other health systems are doing, a badge reel is available for employees who have been fully vaccinated and wish to wear one. It is not required; it is completely voluntary,” said Jeff Starck, Media Relations Specialist at MCHS. “Employees who have not been vaccinated, or who prefer not to share their vaccination status, do not need to request one.”
Standard clinic badge reels are white. A black badge reel is available to an employee that has proven vaccination status. Employees with black badge reels can meet in person unmasked if all meeting attendees are vaccinated.
Andrew, an employee at Marshfield Clinic until last week, spoke to OnFocus about what he calls the “segregation badges.”
“People want to speak up about it but they are scared of losing their jobs,” he said. “I’m a veteran and I’m willing to stand up to this. We go to war to protect our freedoms for our right to choose. Being forced to do something beyond our will is authoritarian leadership. Regardless of anyone’s views, everyone has the right to choose. If they want to get vaccinated or if they don’t, I will defend their right to choose.”
The Health System stated they created the unique badge reels to help employees understand whether they can meet unmasked. (Masks can only be removed for meetings in non-patient care areas if all individuals in that space are vaccinated. If any participant in a meeting is not wearing a black badge reel, all participants in the meetings are expected to mask and practice social distancing.)
“We all look forward to having the opportunity to interact with co-workers outside of the virtual world. The badge reels are a way for more personal interaction and create a sense of normalcy for many employees during what has been a challenging, mostly virtual work environment,” said Starck. “To date, nearly 8,000 employees have requested a badge reel.”
According to MCHS, it is not a HIPAA violation to ask an individual’s vaccination status. It is the individual’s decision as to whether he/she discloses this information to the requestor. Vaccination status is Protected Health Information (PHI) and disclosure is at the discretion of the individual.
Other MCHS workers (who wished to remain anonymous to protect their employment) reached out to Onfocus to express concerns over both the vaccine mandate and badge reels.
“Many employees are at Security Health Plan, a portion of the company that does not even deal with medical situations or patients, yet they are being required to take a vaccine as well,” said one individual. “While I am not against vaccines in any way, I am against bad science and cherry-picked information that now leads a company to believe they have the right to bully, fear-monger, and force employees into taking long-term untested vaccines.”
“History tends to repeat itself and segregation on any topic generally never ends well,” another employee stated to OnFocus. “This segregation is stemming from a new form of vaccine that freedoms are being lost over and people are being discriminated against for not wanting to be involved in a live experiment.”
“That people will belittle others and call them ‘stupid’ or “selfish’ for not getting the vaccine, that is un-American. We have the greatest country in the world because of our freedom to choose how we live our life,” added Andrew.
A peaceful protest has been planned for Thursday at 5:00pm for individuals concerned about their medical rights.
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