Mercy Springfield held a press conference Wednesday to announce that they will be requiring all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Hospital officials said they would be requiring all staff to have both doses of the vaccine by September 30, 2021. Employees who refuse to get the vaccine could lose their jobs.
“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 statement. “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 cited the “real-world impact” of vaccines in their announcement that they would require the vaccinations. They said the supermajority of Mercy patients with COVID were not vaccinated and that the Delta variant has caused a significant rise in cases and corresponding strain on the healthcare system.
“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 statement. “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 officials also said that both Pfizer and Moderna have applied to the Food and Drug Administration for full approval of their vaccines.
CoxHealth told KWTO in a statement they do not plan to require employees to get the vaccine at the current time, but will be re-evaluating their position if information changes.
“At this point in time, CoxHealth does not require COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment,” Cox said in their statement. “COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be highly efficacious and safe, can save lives, and end this pandemic. We strongly advocate for their use. However, we understand that many in our community are hesitant to become vaccinated, including some employees. It appears likely the Emergency Use Authorization, under which vaccines are currently available, may be removed shortly. A decision on the EUA status will further inform our decision about mandating vaccines, and we are hopeful that those that are hesitant may gain further confidence in the vaccine if full approval is granted. Meanwhile, we continue to follow the most strenuous CDC guidelines to assure we have a safe place to work and receive care.”