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Norton Healthcare, Baptist Health requiring employees to get COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 4:26 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 3, 2021 at 12:48 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Two of the Louisville area’s largest hospital systems are requiring its employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Norton Healthcare employees are required to get the vaccine by Sept. 15, Norton Healthcare President and CEO Russell F. Cox announced on Monday.

At this time of year, Cox said Norton’s employees are typically getting their mandatory flu shots, so he asked them to cooperate with the requirement to get the COVID-19 vaccine as well.

“Look, I know that some people will be bothered by this ask, especially since it’s in the form of a requirement,” Cox said in a recorded video message to employees. “But circumstances sometimes dictate this kind of action. This is one of those circumstances.”

Norton says about 80% of employees have already been vaccinated against COVID. He said those who aren’t will be provided with options to make the process as convenient as possible.

“The Delta variant has clearly created a new and extremely dangerous situation,” Cox said. “We’re seeing its impact in the growing number of people in our care, in the number of Norton employees who are testing positive or who have been exposed and are being required to quarantine.”

Those with chronic health conditions or religious beliefs that are concerned about getting the vaccine will be required to submit their request against getting it in writing. They will be reviewed on an individual basis, and Cox said those employees may be required to undergo regular COVID testing to prevent the virus’ spread.

“These times require us to be open-minded and adaptable, and most of all, focused on our patients and each other,” Cox said. “More and more people are coming to us in their time of need, and it’s going to take all of us to meet that need.”

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Baptist Health leaders also have plans to enforce a vaccine mandate, but the details have not been announced publicly yet. According to a spokesperson, the requirement also comes in light of the spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus.

“Baptist Health’s top priority is the health and safety of its staff, providers, patients and community,” Julie Garrison, Baptist Health’s regional marketing manager, said in a statement. “Details of the plans are still being shared with staff and the Baptist Health Medical Group.”

Roughly 65-70% of Baptist Health’s nearly 23,000 employees have already gotten the vaccine, Garrison said.

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