Geisinger said the decision follows months of careful study and discussion. In addition, all new employees will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment starting Oct. 15. This includes faculty, medical staff, residents, fellows temporary workers, trainees, volunteers, students and temporary staff.
“Based on overwhelming evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, we believe this is the right decision at the right time to protect our patients and employees and slow the spread of this deadly virus in our communities,” said Jaewon Ryu, M.D., J.D., Geisinger’s president and chief executive officer. “We understand that some employees who have consciously chosen to not get vaccinated may be disappointed by this decision. We hope they will understand that this is a necessary step to protect the health of our patients and their colleagues.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 2,795 new cases of COVID-19 on Aug. 24, bringing the statewide total to 1,272,350 known cases since the beginning of the pandemic. The DOH adds that 65.1% of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are fully vaccinated.
About 70% of Geisinger employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at this time, according to Geisinger. Exemptions are available for employees who have a “documented and very specific medical reason or sincerely held religious belief that preclude them from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.”
The FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer vaccine on Aug. 23. The United States is the first country to fully approve the vaccine.
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