IDAHO FALLS — After roughly a year since the Idaho National Laboratory set in place a COVID-19 vaccine requirement as a condition of employment, the mandate has been lifted.

    The announcement was sent in an emailed message dated Oct. 6, 2022. It was addressed to all INL employees from INL Director John Wagner.

    “We introduced this requirement to decrease COVID-19 rates among our staff and to comply with an executive order,” Wagner writes. “At the time, the delta variant was filling local hospital beds. Healthcare workers were overwhelmed, and the prospect of rationing care was very real.”

    Wagner goes on to explain that “COVID-19 was an enormous threat” to the lab. Employees had to quarantine regularly, and the workforce experienced serious illness and death, according to the letter.

    “The vaccination requirement fulfilled its purpose,” Wagner explains. “Vaccination rates among INL employees increased. Serious illness decreased. This allowed us to continue our important mission work and protect the health, safety and well-being of our employees.”

    Read the full article on East Idaho News.