Oregon health system lifts employee vaccine requirements

Bend, Ore.-based St. Charles Health System has lifted COVID-19 vaccine requirements on its workers, the Bend Bulletin reported Sept. 15. 

When the state of Oregon initiated the requirement in October, 355 of the health system's employees applied for religious or medical exemptions. Not all were approved, and although the system offered remote work or unpaid leave to some, 180 workers quit, according to the Bulletin

The state updated its policy in April, and other Oregon hospitals have already lifted vaccine requirements, the Bulletin reported. However, unvaccinated employees will still be required to wear an N95 respirator when working with patients. 

"When I spoke to many of the caregivers who were sad to leave their positions [due to the vaccine requirements], some of them will be happy to come back to do the job that they very much want to do," Cynthia Maree, MD, St. Charles Health System's medical director of infection prevention services, told the Bulletin


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