All UofL Health employees required to be fully vaccinated by September

Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 12:37 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - With about 70% of employees and providers already vaccinated, UofL Health announced Wednesday they will now require all employees to get the COVID vaccine.

“If we’re going to be a leader in the community, in the health of this community, and we’re going to be holding mass vaccination sites and trying to encourage the community, then we as an organization must walk the talk,” UofL Health CEO Tom Miller said.

The new policy requires employees, including residents, fellows, and rotating students to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 1, meaning two weeks after the final dose. Any new hires will be required to be fully vaccinated as well before they can start work. All long-term contracted staff, including food and nutrition services, environmental services, and security, are also requested to be fully vaccinated.

“It’s really a commitment to our community,” Miller said. “We want them to know we want to make sure we are a safe place to come to and to our staff members, to let them know that each other is supporting themselves in regards to being safe.”

There will be exemptions in place for those who cannot get the shot due to medical or religious reasons. Those employees will need to apply for an exemption, using the same process they use for the Flu vaccine.

Miller said they picked the Sept. 1 date because they wanted to ensure a full FDA approval of at least one of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Dr. Jason Smith, UofL Health’s chief medical officer, said they believe it’s the best option for them.

“From our standpoint, it was really kind of an easy decision to make from that standpoint of knowing that this is a safe and effective vaccine,” Smith said. “This is the best we can do for both our own organization, for those that we care about: our staff and physicians and their families, as well as our community.”

Other companies are doing the same thing. Louisville-based Atria Senior Living required all of its employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Approximately 200 employees chose not to and left the company.

Local non-profit Hildegard House put a mandatory vaccination policy in place as well for staff and volunteers. Hildegard House provides housing and care for people at the end of life who have no home or loved ones to care for them.

On the higher education side, Indiana University announced this week their students, faculty, and staff on all campuses are required to come back fully vaccinated next semester. In Kentucky, Berea College and Simmons College are requiring the same thing.

UofL and UK still encouraging staff and students to get vaccinated, but it’s not a requirement yet. Sullivan University, Western Kentucky University, Spalding University, Kentucky State University, and Bellarmine University are all strongly recommending people get the vaccine, but are not requiring it, either.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Lastique International Corporation, a raw plastics distributor and recycler in Louisville, is requiring vaccines for all employees.

Job listings WAVE 3 News found online for the company show the vaccine requirement listed in the job requirements. The Journal article reports the company asks applicants during job interviews whether they have received the vaccine or if they plan to.

A representative from Lastique declined to do an interview with WAVE 3 News Wednesday afternoon.

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