AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– UCHealth demands that all employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 1st. This includes all employees, providers, volunteers and partners. The rationale for the vaccine mandate is to “increase safety for all patients, visitors, and members of the care team, and protect them from COVID-19,” said a statement from UCHealth.
“After fighting COVID-19 for more than a year and the dangerous Delta variant becoming the dominant tribe in Colorado and elsewhere, it is clear that vaccination against this disease is essential to our employees, as well as our patients and visitors to protect. “Said Elizabeth Concordia, President and CEO of UCHealth, in a statement. “We know vaccination will also improve health and safety in the communities that UCHealth serves, and we want to set an example and help end this pandemic.”
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UCHealth said the policy applies to all employees, healthcare workers, trainees, volunteers, vendors, medical students and contract workers. As of Wednesday, nearly 85% of UCHealth’s 26,000 employees had received the vaccine. UCHealth is also offering a $ 500 bonus to any employee who is fully vaccinated by August 22nd.
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UCHealth said the vast majority of patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19 are not vaccinated.
“The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” said Dr. Michelle Barron, senior medical director for infection prevention at UCHealth, in a statement. “The vaccines have been shown to be safe and highly effective in preventing serious illness and hospitalization, even with the Delta variant. Approximately 94% of our hospital patients are unvaccinated, and even in fully vaccinated people who get sick, the vaccine reduces the severity of the disease. People who have been vaccinated are less likely to need intensive care or die, even if they have to be hospitalized. “
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According to UCHealth, UCHealth employees have the option to receive the vaccine of their choice, which includes two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or one dose of the J&J vaccine. Exceptions are only granted for compelling medical or religious reasons. Anyone who receives an exception must wear a mask at all times in UCHealth facilities and be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis. Anyone who does not adhere to the vaccination guidelines is threatened with dismissal.