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Community Health Network to require COVID vaccine for all employees

The health system cited patient safety and vaccine effectiveness as the reason for the mandate.
Credit: AP
Lois Moore, a registered nurse and community resource manager with the Mississippi State Department of Health immunization program, loads up a syringe with the first round of the Pfizer COVID vaccination, that was injected into the arm of one of the state medical leaders, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, in Ridgeland, Miss. Ten state medical leaders received their inoculations as a group on a Zoom broadcast in an effort to encourage state residents to get vaccinated when presented the opportunity. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

INDIANAPOLIS — Community Health Network announced Thursday it will require all employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 15. The health system cited patient safety and vaccine effectiveness as the reason for the mandate.

"Since the pandemic started, our caregivers have proven time and again to be heroes in the face of daunting and sometimes frightening challenges," said Community President and CEO Bryan Mills. "Getting vaccinated is one more step in the collective fight against COVID-19."

Since December 2020 when they became eligible, more than 60 percent of Community Health's 16,000 employees have been vaccinated.

RELATED: Doctor says he'd be in favor of vaccination mandate to reach President Biden's goal

RELATED: IU Health to require employees to get COVID-19 vaccine

Dr. Ram Yeleti, Community's chief physician executive, said health care workers have an obligation to get vaccinated while others put their health in employees' hands.

"The evidence is clearer every day that those who are vaccinated very rarely pass the virus to others," Yeleti said.

Community Health Network already requires employees to get the flu vaccine, barring any exemptions for religious or medical reasons. The same will go for the coronavirus vaccine.

IU Health announced its employees would also be required to get vaccinated earlier this month. A group of opposing employees has planned a protest for Saturday.

RELATED: IU Health employees organize protest against COVID-19 vaccine requirement

All employees — including vendors, contractors and volunteers — who work at Community's hospitals or other provider offices will be required to get vaccinated. Masks will still be required for patients and visitors.