In a policy change from just a month ago, Marshfield Clinic Health System will now mandate COVID-19 vaccines for employees due to the rapid spread of the virus in the state caused by the highly contagious delta variant.
The Marshfield Clinic announced Wednesday morning that it will require its employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by November 15. The vaccination mandate schedule aligns with the annual influenza vaccination process required by the Marshfield Clinic, according to a statement released by the health system.
âThese vaccines are the key to stopping this virus, and it is essential that we take this important step to provide the safest possible environment for our patients, families, visitors, providers and staff,â said Dr Susan Turney, CEO of Marshfield Clinic Health System. .
Turney said the decision to make vaccines mandatory is based on the increase in COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin and the increased spread of the delta variant across the country and state – as well as within the Marshfield Clinic.
In the past two weeks, the healthcare system has seen COVID-19-related hospitalizations triple, and almost all of the COVID-19 hospitalized patients have not been vaccinated since early July.
Related:Ascension Wisconsin, SSM Health and Mayo Clinic to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for Wisconsin employees
COVID-19-related hospitalizations and the average number of new cases also rose statewide on Tuesday, according to the state’s health services department. The seven-day average of daily cases increased for the 28th day in a row, to 854, up 778 cases from the previous month.
The number of people hospitalized rose to 341 patients, up 262 from a month ago.
âWe did not take this decision lightly. It’s a topic we’ve been discussing for several weeks, but the time is right. “Turney said.” To be a leader in the community and provide the care our patients deserve, we must lead by example. “
USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin contacted the Marshfield Clinic on July 1 regarding the requirement for vaccines, which the health system was not doing at the time. However, clichÃ©s were strongly encouraged for employees, according to Tom Weaver, public relations manager.
âWe believe that vaccines are both safe and effective and that the benefits of being vaccinated outweigh any identified risks or side effects,â Weaver said at the time.
The Marshfield Clinic is following in the footsteps of other health systems across the state; Froedtert Health, which covers the south-eastern region, said on Tuesday it required staff and providers to be fully immunized by November 1.
Children’s Wisconsin and the Medical College of Wisconsin announced in late July that they would require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by November. Ascension Wisconsin, Mayo Clinic Health System and SSM Health also require that all employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
But at Aspirus facilities (which recently absorbed all of the Ascension facilities acquired in central and northern Wisconsin), COVID-19 vaccines are not mandatory, but strongly encouraged for both staff and providers, according to Andrew Krauss, spokesperson for the hospital system.
âOur number one priority is to protect the safety of our patients, our employees and our communities,â said Krauss. “We continue to apply strict procedures and safety guidelines in accordance with CDC recommendations, and we are working hard to increase immunization rates among our staff and in all the communities we serve.”
Krauss said the healthcare system reserves the right to introduce new policies and initiatives, going so far as to make COVID-19 vaccination a condition of employment.
âVaccines are an essential tool in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,â he said.
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