Employees of Northwestern Medicine will be required to become fully vaccinated or undergo weekly testing, the hospital announced Wednesday.
“Given the spread of the COVID-19 delta variant and its risk to those with underlying medical conditions and children under 12 who are not yet eligible to receive a vaccine, Northwestern Medicine physicians and staff will be required to complete COVID-19 vaccination or receive a medical or religious exemption by October 31,” spokesman Christopher King said in an email.
About 80% of Northwestern Medicine’s employees are fully vaccinated, King said.
Northwestern’s decision comes after Pfizer’s vaccine received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration on Monday. Other organizations also have announced vaccine requirements for their employees since the FDA’s announcement.
Edward-Elmhurst Health and Amita Health both announced on Tuesday they would require their employees to get vaccinated. Edward-Elmhurst will require employees to be vaccinated by Oct. 25, while Amita employees will need to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 12.
“The ethical framework under which we operate, however, means that it is our responsibility to do good, and an individual’s right to autonomy ends when that person’s actions may harm others,” Edward-Elmhurst’s CEO Mary Lou Mastro said in a statement to the Daily Herald.
The Daily Herald also reported Advocate Aurora, Loyola Medicine, University of Chicago Medicine, University of Illinois Health, Cook County Health and Rush Health are requiring their employees to be vaccinated.
Advocate’s employees must be vaccinated by Oct. 15.
Outside the local health care world, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Wednesday city employees will be required to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 15.
A person receiving the Pfizer vaccine is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their second shot of the vaccine. After receiving the first dose of Pfizer, people are advised to wait about 21 days before receiving their second dose. For Northwestern employees to be vaccinated by Oct. 31, they will need to receive their first dose of the vaccine by Sept. 26.
Northwestern Medicine has three hospitals in McHenry County, in McHenry, Woodstock and Huntley.
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that Northwestern Medicine has three hospitals in McHenry County. The article previously omitted the hospital in Woodstock.