Edward-Elmhurst Health announced Tuesday it would enact a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all those involved in the health system network’s operation. The mandate applies to all employees, physicians on the medical staff, advance practice practitioners, volunteers, vendors, contractors, students, and instructors, according to an Edward Elmhurst-Health release.
Edward-Elmhurst Health has 8,500 employees, including 2,000 physicians and 1,900 nurses, along with 1,200 volunteers.
Vaccinations must be completed by October 25. The health system will grant exemptions for approved medical or religious reasons.
Vaccine Mandate Reasoning
Health system officials say they made the decision based on clear evidence that vaccinated individuals are less likely to suffer from severe disease, persistent health consequences of infection, and death. “We believe that our patients have a right to expect healthcare workers to have taken all steps to minimize the risk of infection, including vaccination,” Edward-Elmhurst Health System CEO Mary Lou Mastro said.
“Healthcare workers are at risk for COVID-19, especially when unvaccinated, and our teams are in contact with vulnerable patients every day, many who are elderly, sick, or immunocompromised,” she added.
Mastro said some may not agree with the health system’s decision, but the ethical framework under which they operate prioritize minimizing harm to others over personal autonomy. “Vaccines, fully supported by the medical community, have been protecting people from disease for centuries, nearly eliminating smallpox, polio, rubella and others,” she said. “This is the right thing to do.”
According to the release, more than 163 million people in the United States have been vaccinated, and over two billion vaccinations have been given worldwide. The vaccine has proven to be effective in preventing the devastating effects of a COVID-19 infection, the health system said.
On Monday, the US Food and Drug Administration gave its full approval to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for the prevention of the disease in individuals 16 years of age and older.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Flanagan reports.
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