RWJBarnabas Health implements mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations

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RWJBarnabas Health is now requiring supervisors and above to be vaccinated for COVID-19, with plans to eventually extend the mandate to all employees, the West Orange, N.J.-based health system said May 20.

Supervisors and above must be vaccinated no later than June 30. 

"As healthcare workers and as team members committed to providing a culture of safety, we have an obligation to do all we can to protect our patients and the communities we serve," Barry Ostrowsky, president and CEO of RWJBarnabas Health, said in a news release. "As a healthcare leader in the state, we must set the precedent to always provide the safest environment and protect the residents of New Jersey."

The health system said most RWJBarnabas Health employees are already vaccinated, and it will continue offering shots for the foreseeable future for staff and the community.

RWJBarnabas Health, which has more than 35,000 employees, is the latest hospital or health system to mandate vaccination for workers.  

Philadelphia's six-hospital University of Pennsylvania Health System revealed May 19 that it will make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for all employees and clinical staff.

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.

Additionally, 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 26,000 employees are required to have received the vaccine.

Other health systems have decided not to mandate the vaccine for employees while the shots are only authorized for emergency use by the FDA.

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