Advocate Aurora Health will require employees to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by Oct. 15, the company announced Wednesday in a news release.
“We are first and foremost a safe, clinical enterprise. Our ultimate duty is to protect the health and safety of our team members, patients and communities,” President and CEO Jim Skogsbergh told team members Wednesday in a video. “The data is overwhelming. This vaccine is safe, and it’s highly effective in preventing infection and even more so, serious illness and death.”
According to the release, the decision comes as many care providers and organizations across the country have implemented such a requirement based on conclusive evidence that vaccines are safe, effective and critically important to saving lives and bringing an end to this pandemic.
The release stated that Advocate Aurora inpatient COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased five-fold over the past three weeks, and the system’s test positivity rate is the highest it’s been since January.
“While COVID is far from gone, our story is still being written. Let this decision to mandate vaccines be another chapter in our book – one that says we have done everything we can to keep our patients, our communities and each other safe and healthy,” Skogsbergh said.
With limited exceptions for specific religious or medical reasons, the requirement applies to all 75,000 team members in both Illinois and Wisconsin, including remote workers and those who don’t work directly with patients, as well as medical staff, students, volunteers and on-site vendors, according to the release.