Undoubtedly you’ve heard about the COVID-19 vaccine requirement at CommonSpirit Health. As you can imagine, many of us have strong feelings about the requirement. Most of us applaud the decision, but some are expressing concerns. It might be helpful to reiterate why we are doing this.
Improving the health of the people we serve, especially those most vulnerable, is both our privilege and our calling. It comes with an immense responsibility to protect our patients and communities. To do so, we must first protect ourselves and each other.
We know that vaccinated individuals are much better protected than those who are not vaccinated. No vaccine is perfect, but we know vaccinated people are substantially less likely to be infected, have severe disease, and die from COVID-19. And also significantly less likely to transmit COVID-19 to a patient, co-worker, a child or loved one at home. Especially in the midst of the current Delta surge,vaccination is one of the most important ways we can build safer communities.
Every employee has been asked to share their vaccination status.To the more than 90,000 who have responded and reported your status — thank you!
If you have not yet responded to the survey, please do soas soon as possible. The survey link is below and it only takes a few minutes. If you have been vaccinated, please have a copy of your vaccination card available to upload. And thank you for taking this crucial step towards ending the pandemic.
If you are not yet vaccinated, please indicate in the survey whether or not you wish to request a medical and/or religious exemption. If so, the exemption forms and instructions will be sent to you. But most importantly, please consider receiving the vaccine unless there is a medical or religious reason that prevents you from doing so.
NOTE: The majority of CommonSpirit employees have access to EmployeeCentral. The link shown above will take you directly to the vaccination status survey in EmployeeCentral; please complete as soon as possible. If your location does not use EmployeeCentral, you should have received a similar link that allows you to indicate your vaccination status and/or apply for a medical or religious exemption.
Some of the most common questions I get are whether previously infected people, and those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should be vaccinated. These are thoughtful questions and understandably address sensitive issues. The answers to all these questions are “yes.” Prior infection provides some protection from re-infection, or "natural immunity." Nonetheless, the CDC and other health experts emphasize people with a history of COVID-19 still should be vaccinated to be better protected. Second, multiple studies have shown the vaccines do not interfere with fertility, pregnancy or breastfeeding. Additionally, pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared to non-pregnant populations. If you have questions or special circumstances, talk to your trusted health care provider and openly share your concerns.
In closing, I again want to express my profound appreciation to our entire CommonSpirit family who responds to our sacred calling each and every day. What you do matters a great deal. Together we will put this pandemic behind us.
Stay safe and be well.
Robert Wiebe, MD Chief Medical Officer CommonSpirit Health
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