An inside look on how President Biden’s new vaccine mandate affects Wyoming healthcare workers

Gabby Paterson

More stories from Gabby Paterson


PC: Cody Enterprise

Protesters gather outside Cody Regional Health in efforts to protest the Biden Administrations new vaccine mandate. This mandate requires all healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4.

As the nation rushes to escape the COVID-19 pandemic, the Biden Administration releases mandate after mandate in an attempt to finally break away from the virus. President Biden’s newest addition to his series of mandates includes the requirement of all healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated.

After the release of the mandate, many Republican states around the nation decided to take a stand against the vaccination requirement. Missouri led 26 other states to file lawsuits against vaccine requirements. The mandate threatens millions of jobs in the healthcare industry and raises the concern of the already existing shortages of workers in the healthcare field. Wyoming followed suit along with other Republican led states.

The argument against the mandate contends that the mandate is an abuse of power by the federal government and is overstepping into state’s power. The suit filed by Missouri attorney stated that the mandate is blatantly attempting to federalize public health issues. 

Furthermore, the vaccine mandate is portrayed by some as not only an overstepping of federal power but also a threat to the liberties upon which the country was founded.

After the mandate goes through, I can’t imagine the hell it is going to bring to the healthcare industry.

— Jordyn Schuler

 “I should be able to make my own healthcare decisions,” utilization manager and RN reviewer for Optum Kristy Paterson said. “If I think I need to go to the doctor or if I want to choose to go to this doctor or that doctor. We have the freedom to choose who we’re going to go to so why is this freedom being taken away with this new mandate?”

Patients have the right to make their healthcare decisions, and it is a given right for patients to choose if they want to receive care at a hospital. With the enforcement of the vaccine mandate, the ability of healthcare workers to make their own decisions becomes limited. 

“As a healthcare worker, you’re always advocating for your patient so why wouldn’t you advocate for yourself,” Paterson said.

On a local level, healthcare workers in Powell are concerned for the damages the mandate will have on the healthcare industry and local hospital and long term care center, Powell Valley Healthcare.

“I truly believe that the mandate is going to negatively impact the healthcare industry,” social work case manager for PVHC Trish Shorb said. “We are already strapped with enough providers and nurses to care for the increasing number of patients. There will be several healthcare workers that choose to quit or be terminated. This impacts patients and the level of care they will receive.”

PHS junior Jordyn Schuler worked as a GNA, Graduated Nursing Assistant, at the Long Term Care Center at PVHC before leaving her post.

“When I worked at the hospital they were already so short staffed,” Schuler said. “It was so physically and mentally exhausting having a workload of two or three people. After the mandate goes through, I can’t imagine the hell it is going to bring to the healthcare industry.”

Not only is the implementation of the vaccine affecting the healthcare industry in the present, it is going to affect the future healthcare workers and their decision of working in the healthcare field.

“It’s hard to say whether the mandate is affecting my desire to work in the healthcare field because this is only the beginning,” Schuler said. “By the way, the mandate is being pushed now, I’m worried that no matter where I choose to pursue my career, I will be forced to get injected with a vaccine that I don’t want in my body.”