/Regional One, Methodist announce mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for employees

Regional One, Methodist announce mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for employees

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) Two more Mid-South hospital systems will require all employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Regional One Health and Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare announced their new mandates Monday, saying they are aimed at protecting patients, staff and the community from the transmission of COVID-19 and the surging Delta variant.

“As health care providers, we have a duty to play a part in addressing this public health crisis. As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout our community, requiring vaccinations for staff is the responsible next step to protect our patients, employees and community,” said Reginald Coopwood, MD, president and CEO of Regional One Health.

Regional One and Methodist join St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in requiring hospital employees to get the vaccine.

“From the very beginning of the pandemic, we have put care for patients at the forefront of everything we do,” said Michael Ugwueke, President and CEO of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare. “This new COVID-19 vaccine mandate is no exception. Just as we expect Associates and staff to receive a flu vaccine each year, this is a crucial step in helping to reduce new cases and deaths, and ensure a safe, healing environment for all who enter our doors.”

Employees at both hospitals must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 31 as a condition of employment. At Methodist, those who are not vaccinated must receive their first dose by Aug. 31.

Methodist says more than half of their 13,000 employees are already fully vaccinated with higher figures among physicians and executives.

According to the Regional One, the COVID-19 vaccine mandate follows the growing case numbers and guidance from health care organizations.

“We know the vaccine is effective, and it dramatically reduces the spread of COVID-19. We are taking this proactive step as our community continues to be negatively impacted by this pandemic due in part to low vaccination adoption and the surging Delta variant,” said Coopwood. “I strongly encourage anyone who is still unvaccinated to join us in putting an end to this public health crisis.”

Methodist says they will grant limited exceptions on a case-by-case basis for religious and medical reasons.

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