COVID-19 vaccinations mandated for employees at Dakotas health system

COVID-19 vaccinations mandated for employees at Dakotas health system
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A health system that runs through North and South Dakota is requiring its employees to get the coronavirus vaccine.

Sanford Health announced on Thursday that employees have until Nov. 1 to be vaccinated.

The health system says it already has more than 70 percent of its nurses and more than 90 percent of its clinicians fully vaccinated.

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“This is the right thing to do for our patients and residents, people and communities,” said Bill Gassen, president and CEO of Sanford Health. “As more contagious COVID-19 variants continue to spread and threaten our communities, we must do everything we can to protect each other and our loved ones.”

Other health systems in the country have implemented their own mandates on the coronavirus vaccines, with some employees getting fired for refusing to receive them.

“Since the emergence of COVID-19, Sanford Health has led the way through every stage of the pandemic, and we should be proud of how we’ve come together to safely care for our communities and each other,” Jeremy Cauwels, chief physician at the health system, said. 

“Nearly all new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are among unvaccinated people, and the overwhelming data confirms that the vaccines are not only safe, but the best and most reliable way to prevent transmission of the virus,” Cauwels added.

Sanford will allow exceptions for religious and medical reasons as they do for all other vaccines they require, including the annual flu shot, the health system said.

Sanford Health says it is one of the largest health systems in the U.S. with 46 hospitals, 1,500 physicians and more than 200 Good Samaritan Society senior care centers.