All Deaconess employees will be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by the start of October 2021, a letter sent to employees on Thursday by Deaconess administration confirms.
"We are confident in the science behind the available vaccines, as well as their safety and efficacy. We also believe that vaccination is ultimately the only viable path to keeping staff and patients safe from COVID-19 and ending the pandemic," the letter sent to Deaconess employees says. "For those reasons, all Deaconess employees are required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by October 1, 2021."
The letter says that Deaconess expects the COVID-19 vaccines to receive full FDA approval by the end of August, allowing employees enough time to get vaccinated by the Oct. 1, 2021 deadline.
Deaconess said in its letter that if the approval is delayed, the Oct. 1 deadline will be extended to allow for full FDA approval of the vaccines.
According to Deaconess, the health system's current vaccine exemption policy will be followed in regard to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate - allowing employees to fill out a "vaccine declination form" for religious reasons, health reasons, or other reasons, as laid out by the current policy.
In the letter, Deaconess said that it was attempting to address concerns and anxieties about getting the COVID-19 vaccine shared by many of its employees.