For weeks, the President and CEO of CoxHealth Systems, Steve Edwards, has been hinting that following FDA approval of a COVID-19 vaccine, he would implement mandatory vaccinations for employees.
On Monday, following the FDA’s approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, Edwards made good on that plan.
Here are the details in a new release from CoxHealth:
After seeing vaccine safety, efficacy and full FDA approval, CoxHealth will move to universal COVID-19 vaccinations for its employees.
The decision was led by the health system’s physician leaders, who are advocates for the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. CoxHealth’s COVID-19 Incident Command team – comprised of medical directors of many specialties across the system, including Infectious Diseases, Pulmonology, Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics, and nursing and physician leaders – supports universal vaccination. Cox Medical Group leaders, who have been elected as representatives by hundreds of physicians across the system, have given it unanimous endorsement. These voices are also supported by the health system’s Board of Directors and administration.
“This decision is ultimately led by science, which has shown us that vaccinations are the way we can end this pandemic,” says Steve Edwards, president and CEO of CoxHealth.
Under the change, all CoxHealth employees must have their first dose of vaccine by October 15. This decision applies to all physicians, vendors, students and employees who are on CoxHealth’s campuses.
“Ultimately, this decision has been made in support of our most urgent priority of protecting our employees, patients and community. We have seen great tragedy over the past 18 months: Hundreds of lives lost due to COVID-19, even more left with long-term impacts, and untold moments of pain for our employees and community members due to this dreadful virus,” says Edwards. “We take this opportunity to unify and move forward together as we work to protect our community, as we have been called to do in health care.”
To date, nearly 70 percent of CoxHealth employees are already vaccinated against COVID-19, as well as more than 90 percent of physicians.