Brief: SIH staff quit in response to vaccine mandate; SIU returns to record-level COVID cases

At least ten employees at Southern Illinois Healthcare (SIH) have resigned in response to the mandate making COVID vaccinations a requirement for employees, Communications Coordinator Rosslind Rice confirmed. 

The resignations came as SIH hospitals experienced near-record high numbers of patients admitted with COVID. 

Rice said in an email, at noon on 8/31/2021, SIH once again had 70 patients hospitalized with Covid at SIH Memorial Hospital of Carbondale and SIH Herrin Hospital.” 


Addison Mandrell, a former SIH employee, said in a previous interview with the Daily Egyptian she’d heard hospital employees had quit the same day Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced the vaccination requirement for healthcare workers. 

[See More: Illinois Gov. Pritzker mandates vaccinations or weekly testing for university attendees, and healthcare workers]

“It just got approved by the FDA,” Mandrell said. “In some eyes, some people’s minds, it’s still too new for us to trust it.”

Mandrell said she worked at SIH Memorial Hospital from December 2019 through May 2021, through the last peak of the COVID pandemic, and many staff members were apprehensive about taking an unapproved vaccine that caused flu-like symptoms for up to a week in some cases. 

“The vaccine mandate makes sense in a hospital setting, but at the same time, we’re so understaffed, not only at SIH but everywhere,” Mandrell said.  “If you’re forcing this on the people, and they’re just not wanting to work because of it then  what can you really do you know.”

Nearby, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale reported an increase in positive COVID cases every week since the start of in-person classes. 

According to SIU-C’s COVID database 31 students and two staff members tested positive from Aug. 23-29, tying the second highest number of COVID cases since the university began recording cases. 


Staff reporter Jason Flynn can be reached at [email protected], by phone at 872-222-7821 or on Twitter at @dejasonflynn. To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.