Sanford Health requiring employees to get COVID-19 vaccine by November 1

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 1:23 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Sanford Health is requiring all employees to get a COVID-19 vaccination by Nov. 1. This includes employees at all of its Good Samaritan Society locations. They say it’s another important step to ensure the safest environment for patients, residents and staff during the pandemic.

“This is the right thing to do for our patients and residents, people and communities,” said Bill Gassen, president and CEO of Sanford Health. “As more contagious COVID-19 variants continue to spread and threaten our communities, we must do everything we can to protect each other and our loved ones.”

“Nearly all new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are among unvaccinated people, and the overwhelming data confirms that the vaccines are not only safe, but the best and most reliable way to prevent transmission of the virus,” said Jeremy Cauwels, M.D., chief physician at Sanford Health.

More than 90% of clinicians and 70% of nurses at Sanford are fully vaccinated. Dr. Doug Griffin, the vice president at Sanford Health hopes to see that other businesses are inspired by their decision.

“Employers, academic institutions other agencies to mandate the vaccine, frankly I think that I hope it does. But again to my point I think health care needs to be the leaders on this.” said Dr. Griffin.

Sanford Health employees are already required to have several other vaccines, including the annual flu shot. Under the new policy, any COVID-19 vaccine received in the past 12 months will qualify for the 2021 requirement.

Unvaccinated employees can get their COVID-19 vaccination at any time, but must report it by November 1. Sanford Health will allow certain exemptions for medical or religious reasons.

Essentia Health said that they recognize that the vaccines are the safest and surest way out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are evaluating our options with current and newly hired employees to mandate the COVID vaccine, just as we do each year with the flu vaccine. We have not made a final decision at this time.” said Media Relations Specialist Tara Ekren.

Altru in Grand Forks are currently not looking at making the vaccine mandatory.

“We continue to monitor the situation, at this time we are not requiring employees to get the COVID-19 vaccination.” said Communications Strategist Kenneth Harvey.

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