Mercy will require all employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine, effective Sept. 30, according to a news release.
The requirement comes as COVID-19 cases are increasing in northeast Oklahoma and Arkansas. The Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly in Missouri, where Mercy has hospitals and clinics in Joplin, Springfield, St. Louis and other areas.
Mercy said the majority of their COVID-19 patients hospitalized have not been vaccinated for the virus.
“What we are seeing aligns with the Associated Press analysis of CDC data,” Dr. John Mohart, Mercy’s senior vice president of clinical services, said in a news release. “More than 95% of recent hospitalizations across the U.S. are people who aren’t vaccinated. The data is clear. Vaccination is key to saving lives.”
Mercy joins more than 20 other health care organizations across the U.S. in requiring their employees be vaccinated for COVID-19.
Both Pfizer and Moderna have applied to the Food and Drug Administration for full approval for their COVID-19 vaccines, which is expected to happen soon. The COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and have proven effective with more than 171 million Americans already vaccinated.
“It is essential that we take these steps in order to protect the health of our co-workers and our patients at Mercy,” Dr. William Sistrunk, Mercy infectious disease specialist, said in a news release. “As health care leaders in our communities, it is important we set the standard to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Vaccination is our best defense against the virus and already has provided many of our co-workers with the protection they need to care for our patients. Our goal is to ensure the safest possible work environment for our co-workers and patients while also being a part of the effort to stop the spread of the virus in the communities we serve.”
Mercy said it will work with employees to develop a plan for compliance ahead of the scheduled deadline.
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