St. Luke’s Announces COVID-19 Vaccine Policy For All Workers
DULUTH, Minn. — St. Luke’s announced late Wednesday that all of its employees, vendors, volunteers and board members will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine completed by Oct. 1.
The only exception to the rule involves employees who can’t take the shot for medical or religious reasons. Those individuals need to file an exemption by Sept. 1 and also regularly take COVID-19 tests.
“We understand people have strong beliefs about this,” said Dr. Nick Van Deelen, St. Luke’s co-president and CEO. “Ultimately, the policy is about keeping our patients and staff safe and reducing the community transmission of a serious disease.”
“Those who have not been vaccinated are at greater risk of disease, hospitalization and death when compared to those who have been vaccinated,” according to the release.
To date, 78 percent of St. Luke’s employees and 97 percent of St. Luke’s physicians have received their COVID-19 vaccine.
“The Delta variant is significantly more infectious and can cause more severe illness. St. Luke’s arrived at the decision to implement a policy due to the highly contagious nature of this new variant, coupled with the significant benefits the vaccine has shown in the reduction of COVID-19 infections, severe illness, hospitalizations and death,” the release said.
The new policy from St. Luke’s comes just hours after Essentia Health announced a similar vaccine policy for its workers Wednesday.