Citing increased cases of the highly contagious Delta variant, Jefferson Health and Thomas Jefferson University are joining the rapidly expanding ranks of Philadelphia-area health systems and higher education institutions mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for workers, the Philadelphia Business Journal reports.
Jefferson said Tuesday that it will require vaccination by Oct. 29 for all employees and medical staff who work in clinical environments, as well as faculty and staff in its academic environments.
Employees will be required at that time to show proof of vaccination, such as a CDC card. Asked how it would accommodate working arrangements for those with vaccine exemptions for medical or religious reasons, Jefferson said those details are still being worked out. It said it will honor such exemptions and follow best practices for infection prevention from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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“While we have the deepest appreciation and respect for all of our faculty, employees, students and patients, we must maintain a safe environment," spokesman Brian Hickey said in an email to PBJ.com. “This decision is based on the threat of the Delta variant, the strength of the science surrounding the vaccine, the many valued conversations we’ve had with our employees, and the overwhelming support for requiring vaccination from the CDC, and many major healthcare organizations, universities and professional societies.”
Those without exemptions who do not comply by Oct. 29 will be terminated, Jefferson confirmed to PBJ.com.
PBJ.com breaks down how other area health systems are dealing with mandates for vaccines.