NEWARK — ChristianaCare announced Thursday that it will join a growing number of health care systems across the nation that are requiring all its caregivers to be vaccinated for COVID-19.
All employees must receive their first dose of a two-dose vaccine or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson by Sept. 21.
The policy defines caregivers as all ChristianaCare employees (regardless of the type of work they do), medical-dental staff, residents, students, contracted employees, temporary labor workers, volunteers and vendors.
“Over the past eight months, we have served our community by administering thousands of vaccines to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. President Joe Biden was among those who rolled up their sleeves at ChristianaCare to protect themselves and others,” said Dr. Janice E. Nevin, president and CEO of ChristianaCare.
“Since then, approximately 10,000 of our caregivers have opted for the vaccinations, which have been proven safe and effective at providing lasting immunity to COVID-19 and reducing severe illness.”
Dr. Nevin said the recent surge in cases, most involving the highly transmissible delta variant, led to ChristianaCare’s decision to make the COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory.
“While we have not required vaccinations to date, the highly transmissible delta variant and the surge in COVID-19 cases among unvaccinated people across the country — including in our area — have prompted additional considerations,” she said.
“The science is clear: Health care workers must be vaccinated in order to protect the health and safety of our patients, our caregivers and our community. We must take this step as expert, caring partners in the health of our neighbors.”
The decision comes as a growing number of professional organizations urge all medical facilities to require workers to get vaccinated, including the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Hospital Association, America’s Essential Hospitals, the American College of Surgeons and many others.
“We believe we have reached a tipping point at which the urgent need for all caregivers to be vaccinated is clear,” said ChristianaCare Chief People Officer Dr. Neil Jasani. “While we continue to provide exceptional care for people with COVID-19, the fact remains that this is a very dangerous virus, especially the delta variant, which is causing increasing hospitalizations and mortality among younger and healthier people.
“The best way to protect people and to save lives is through vaccination.”
Vaccine exemptions for ChristianaCare workers will only be allowed for specific medical conditions and religious beliefs.