OSF HealthCare said it continues to follow the science on COVID-19 vaccines and assess the ongoing pandemic.
Based on information available and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), OSF officials said they have “thoughtfully” made the decision to require all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of September of this year.
“We did not make this decision lightly,” said Mike Cruz, M.D., chief operating officer, OSF HealthCare. “As health care providers, it is our ethical obligation to be vigilant about the safety of our patients. 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.
“OSF has been consistent in recommending vaccinations as our best shot to move forward to end this pandemic that has taken so much from so many, but we need everyone on board to make a deep and lasting impact,” said Shelley Nguyen, vice president of workforce management, OSF HealthCare. “Our communities we serve and our patients depend on us to create a safe, healthy environment. We owe that same commitment to our Mission Partners.”
This decision is consistent with existing OSF vaccination policies that require employees to get a flu shot every year and stay current with other vaccinations, such as measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough. Exemptions are available for religious conscience or medical reasons and must be formally requested, documented and approved. Any employee who does not qualify for an exemption and who chooses not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine may be subject to disciplinary processes, which could result in loss of employment.
OSF HealthCare employs nearly 24,000 employees in 150 locations throughout the state of Illinois, including hospitals and medical facilities in Princeton, Ottawa, Mendota and Streator.