Two major employers in North Platte – Great Plains Health hospital and the public schools — do not yet require employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

At the hospital, CEO Mel McNae told the Bulletin on Oct. 20 that the final rules for the vaccine mandate have not been written yet. He said the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has the job of writing the final rules.

While 75% of the hospital staff has been vaccinated, some staff have valid reasons for not being vaccinated, he said.

McNae said he struggles with the need for a mandate, and personally hopes it won’t come to fruition.

“It’s become so political,” he said. “Most people seem to have made their decisions. If it is mandated, some of our staff will likely leave, and we are already stretched to have enough staff.”

At the public schools, spokeswoman Tina Smith said nothing has been issued yet from the Nebraska Department of Education about specific rules. She noted that Gov. Pete Ricketts is opposed to the mandate.

Smith said 65% of the school staff, district-wide, are fully vaccinated.

(This report was published first in the Bulletin’s Oct. 20 print edition. Originally we reported that the governor appoints the state commissioner of education. That is incorrect and has been removed from the article. The Nebraska Board of Education selects the commissioner.)

© 2021 The North Platte Bulletin. All rights reserved.