St. Jude Children's to require vaccination for employees

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St. Jude Children's Research Hospital said July 14 that the Memphis, Tenn.-based hospital and its foundation partner, ALSAC, are requiring that St. Jude and Memphis-area ALSAC employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 9.

"As our mission states and as our St. Jude core values echo, we must ensure that advancing treatment for children with catastrophic diseases is at the center of everything we do," said St. Jude in a statement shared with Becker's. "This means providing our patients and their families with the safest treatment environment possible."

The hospital added that it reached the mandate decision after research, analysis and discussion.

"It is the right thing to keep our campus safe. Our duty to our patients frames everything we do. This is the logical next step to ensure we stay one step ahead of the virus," the hospital said.

In a memo, St. Jude President and CEO James Downing, MD, told employees the Sept. 9 deadline allows eight weeks for all unvaccinated employees to schedule appointments and get vaccinated. He said they must have their final dose scheduled and administered by the deadline, or, if vaccinated outside of St. Jude, have the documentation to the hospital by the deadline date.

Employees will be able to request a medical or religious exemption. However, by Sept. 10, employees who have refused vaccination or do not have an approved waiver will be put on a two-week unpaid administrative leave, during which time they can begin the vaccination process, said Dr. Downing. Employees who do not begin the vaccination process will be terminated at the end of the leave period. 

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