PEORIA — OSF HealthCare now says it will require all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of September.
Previously, the health care organization recommended vaccines, but left the final decision up to individuals.
OSF chief operating officer Mike Cruz said the health care group is “ethically obligated” to be vigilant about patient safety.
“Vaccinations are credited with the decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations and cases across the country and throughout our Ministry, and we firmly believe that vaccination against COVID-19 is the best way to keep our patients and Mission Partners safe,” Cruz said in a prepared statement.
The health care organization already required annual flu shots, and other vaccinations like MMR and whooping cough. Employees who don’t qualify for an exemption for religious or medical reason and still choose not to get vaccinated against COVID-19 could be subject to disciplinary measures, including firing.
OSF HealthCare employs nearly 24,000 people in Illinois and Michigan. An OSF spokesperson said about 65% of their employees are currently vaccinated, with the caveat that number is fluid moving forward.
“We encourage all individuals to get a COVID-19 vaccine because we know the clear benefits and safety of the vaccines. We have continued strong efforts to educate our staff on these facts and the majority of Carle Health team members, including 100% of Carle Health physician leaders and vice presidents, are fully vaccinated. Like many health systems and other employers, we are actively evaluating how to move toward vaccination for all team members. We will continue doing everything we can to protect our team members, patients and the community we serve.”
“Currently Christie Clinic is encouraging all Team Members to get the COVID-19 vaccine. We continue to watch and follow the requirements put out by the CDC, IDPH and local Public Health for healthcare and are in full compliance with those mandates.”