IU Health to implement COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees

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Indiana University Health, a 16-hospital system in Indianapolis, will require employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19, The Indianapolis Star reported June 1. 

"Vaccinating team members is a safe and effective way to protect patients and help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in facilities and in the community," IU Health officials said in an emailed statement shared with the newspaper. "Requiring vaccinations for healthcare employees is not new or unprecedented."

Employees must be fully vaccinated by Sept. 1.

IU Health has required annual flu shots for employees for nearly a decade, hospital officials said, according to the report. 

The health system told Becker's employees may apply for a deferral or exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine based on medical or religious reasons. Applications will be reviewed and granted individually.

IU Health is among the latest health systems to mandate vaccination for workers.  

University of Louisville (Ky.) Health said May 26 it will require employees to be vaccinated, and Philadelphia's six-hospital University of Pennsylvania Health System revealed May 19 that it will make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory.

Additionally, West Orange, N.J.-based RWJBarnabas Health is now requiring supervisors and above to be vaccinated for COVID-19, with plans to eventually extend the mandate to all employees.

Great Falls, Mont.-based Benefis Health System said it made the vaccine mandatory for about 250 employees working in senior services. Employees who are not exempt are required to get their second doses by July 1.

And Houston Methodist rolled out its mandatory vaccination policy March 31, with April 15 as the deadline for managers to receive at least one dose or get an exemption. More than 99 percent of the management team had complied by the deadline. By June 7, all about 26,000 employees are required to have received the vaccine, and 117 employees are suing over the mandate

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said May 28 that employers can legally require employees physically entering the workplace to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. An employer would not violate EEOC laws by implementing a mandate if it complies with the reasonable accommodation provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other equal employment opportunity considerations, according to updated guidelines from the commission. 

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