For the past several months, Memorial Hermann Health System has been putting the necessary plans into place to implement a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for all members of its workforce. Today, the system officially announced its mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy.
“The painstakingly gathered and reported medical research data overwhelmingly demonstrates that the COVID-19 vaccines are extraordinarily safe and effective,” said Dr. David L. Callender, President and CEO of Memorial Hermann. “Other factors contributing to the timing of this decision include the significant percentage of the Greater Houston population that remains unvaccinated, the relaxation of public safety measures such as masking and social distancing, and the alarming increase in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations over the past several weeks. For all of these reasons, we strongly believe that the vaccines are our best and only true protection against COVID-19 going forward.”
The decision was embedded in the system’s vision of creating healthier communities, now and for generations to come. Given the current status of the pandemic, including the dominant and deeply aggressive delta variant which shows no mercy on unvaccinated individuals, Memorial Hermann believes the vaccines are the safest and most effective way to protect not only its patients and community members, but also its workforce.
The health system is off to a strong start with more than 83 percent of its workforce already fully vaccinated. This includes nearly 87 percent of bedside staff, 95 percent of managers and above, and 100 percent of executive leaders. Managers and above across the organization are being asked to lead by example and meet the requirement first; they must be compliant with the new policy by Sept. 11, 2021. All other employees, in addition to the system’s affiliated providers and volunteers, must be compliant by Oct. 9, 2021. In alignment with the system’s other vaccine policies, including its annual flu vaccine policy, it will provide exemptions for members of its workforce who are unable to get the vaccine due to medical or religious reasons.
Memorial Hermann’s decision comes just days after a recent joint statement issued by nearly 60 professional medical organizations, including the American Medical Association, calling for the mandatory vaccination of all healthcare employees against COVID-19. Additionally, the system joins dozens of other well-respected health systems, universities and businesses from across the country that have elected to take the same important and necessary step.
“The evidence is clear: the vaccines are safe and lifesaving. We strongly encourage all those who are still unvaccinated against COVID-19 to join us in creating a healthier future for all by making this pandemic a thing of the past,” said Callender.