With cases spiking across the country, top health officials are making it clear that COVID-19 is becoming “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
According to the CDC, less than half of the total U.S. population has been fully vaccinated and yet fewer Americans are lining up for shots each week.
Hospitals and health systems, which have borne the brunt of the pandemic, are now starting to look inward at the vaccination rates of their own workforces. A growing number of providers are shifting their policies away from simply encouraging staff vaccination to requiring the shots as a condition of employment.
While this hard line has drawn protests and lawsuits from unvaccinated employees who say the requirements infringe on personal freedoms, mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies have picked up the support of numerous professional and industry organizations.
“COVID-19 vaccines protect healthcare personnel when working both in healthcare facilities and in the community. They provide strong protection against workers unintentionally carrying the disease to work and spreading it to patients and peers,” the American Hospital Association (AHA) said in a July 21 policy statement. “The AHA … supports hospitals and health systems that adopt mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies for healthcare personnel, with local factors and circumstances shaping whether and how these policies are implemented.”
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Organizations that have taken the leap include major names like Trinity Health, Banner Health and Atrium Health. Across the board, the policies of these and other providers include exemptions for medical, religious or other legally protected reasons.
At the same time, some health systems that are encouraging staff to vaccinate are holding back on making it a hard requirement.
Ballad Health CEO Alan Levine, for instance, told local press that forcing shots on the 22-hospital system’s remaining 38% of unvaccinated workers would likely exacerbate an ongoing nursing shortage. Others like Mass General Brigham and Southcoast Health told employees that the COVID-19 vaccines would be required, but only after they had received a full clearance from the Food and Drug Administration.
Here’s a roundup of the provider organizations that have announced or were reported to have adopted a mandatory vaccination policy for all employees (as of July 23) and when those policies will go into effect.
Atrium Health will require more than 70,000 employees across 40 hospitals to be vaccinated by Oct. 31.
Banner Health’s roughly 52,000 employees must be vaccinated by Nov. 1.
Beacon Health System is requiring its more than 7,000 associates, 1,100 provider staff and all others “regularly working” at its facilities to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 1.
BJC HealthCare said that its workforce of more than 30,000 employees and others working in its facilities must be fully vaccinated by Sept. 15.
Community Health Network expects its 16,000 employees to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 15.
Cone Health has told 13,000 plus employees and other medical staff, students and volunteers to be fully vaccinated by July 30.
Connecticut Children’s Medical Center reportedly told employees they’ll have until Sept. 30 to be vaccinated.
Duke Health will require its roughly 22,000 employees to be vaccinated by Sept. 21.
Hackensack Meridian Health told its 35,000 employees to receive their first vaccine by Oct. 1 and be fully vaccinated by Nov. 15.
Hartford HealthCare has told its roughly 33,000 employees to show proof of vaccination by Sept. 30.
Henry Ford Health System said it will require its 33,000 workforce of team members, students, volunteers and contractors to be vaccinated by Sept. 10.
Houston Methodist was the first to mandate that its employees be fully vaccinated by a June 7 deadline. This led to 24,947 vaccinated employees, 285 with a medical or religious exemption, 332 granted deferrals for pregnancy or other reasons and 153 terminations or voluntary resignations.
Indiana University Health told its 36,000 employees to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 1.
Inova Health System is requiring its roughly 18,000 employees to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 1.
Medical University of South Carolina told its roughly 17,000 employees to be vaccinated by April 30. It fired five who did not comply.
Mercy, based in St. Louis, announced that it will require its more than 40,000 employees to be vaccinated by Sept. 30.
NewYork-Presbyterian told its 20,000 employees they must receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 1
New York City is requiring the roughly 42,000-person workforce of its public hospital system, Health and Hospitals, to be vaccinated by the beginning of August.
Novant Health said that it will require all team members, about 35,500 people, to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 15.
OSF HealthCare will enforce vaccination across its nearly 24,000-person workforce by Sept. 30.
Penn Medicine’s 44,000 employees must be fully vaccinated by Sept. 1. The system also requires all new hires to provide evidence of vaccination or be vaccinated as of July 1.
Piedmont Healthcare said that all doctors, hospital leaders and new employees must be vaccinated by Sept. 1 and noted that a similar policy would be rolled out “in the near future.”
RWJBarnabas Health told all employees in supervisory positions and above to complete their vaccinations by June 30 and recently laid off six who did not comply. The system said during its initial announcement that it anticipates a similar requirement will be extended to the rest of its 25,000-person staff “in the coming days.”
SSM Health is requiring its nearly 40,000 employers, providers and volunteers to be vaccinated by the end of September.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has told more than 3,600 employees to be vaccinated by Sept. 9.
St. Luke’s Health System in Idaho is requiring employees, providers, contractors, students and volunteers to have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 1 but did not provide a date for full vaccination.
St. Luke’s Hospital, based in Missouri, is requiring team members, volunteers, physicians, independent practitioners in its facilities and vendors with patient contact to be vaccinated by Aug. 13.
Tidelands Health is mandating all employers, employed providers, volunteers, students and contractors be vaccinated by Sept. 7.
Trinity Health has rolled out a vaccine mandate for its workforce of 117,000 employees including clinical staff, remote employees, contractors and “those conducting business in its healthcare facilities.” Most locations falling under the nonprofit giant will require proof of vaccination by Sept. 21.
UNC Health mandated that everyone working at six hospitals as well as its physicians’ practices and shared services locations to be vaccinated by Sept. 21.
University of Chicago Medical Center is requiring its roughly 10,000-member workforce be fully vaccinated and said that it would be implementing a similar policy for UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial. The provider was still determining a timeline for its mandate at the time of the announcement.
University Hospital in New Jersey said that it is requiring all staff to be vaccinated.
University of Louisville Health will require all team members and providers to be fully vaccinated as of Sept. 1.
University of Maryland Medical System will require COVID-19 vaccination for its 29,000 employees and new hires beginning Sept. 1.
Uvalde (Texas) Memorial Hospital is requiring its 493 employees to receive an initial or final dose of a COVID-19 shot by Aug. 6.
Valley Health has told affiliated providers, contractors and 6,300 employees to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1.
Virtua Health has ordered everyone on its more than 14,000-person workforce to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 15.
Wake Forest Baptist Health will require COVID-19 vaccines among its employees. The academic health system has not publicly stated when the mandate will take place.
Yale New Haven Health leadership said in an early July press conference that it would be implementing a mandatory employee COVID-19 vaccination policy but was still working out details around timing.