Trinity Health Thursday announced effective immediately, the national health system will require all colleagues, clinical staff, contractors and those conducting business in its health care facilities be vaccinated against COVID-19. The requirement applies to Trinity Health’s more than 117,000 employees in 22 states nationwide in an effort to stop the spread of the virus and keep all patients, colleagues and the broader communities safe. This includes approximately 3,000 Saint Joseph Health System colleagues.
Since December 2020, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first vaccine for Emergency Use Authorization, Trinity Health has strongly encouraged vaccination for all colleagues and within the communities its various Health Ministries serve. To date, the health system estimates nearly 75% of Trinity Health employees have already received at least one dose of the vaccine, and it now looks to close the gap with this new requirement.
“We have been Called to Care in so many new innovative ways throughout the COVID pandemic and this vaccine requirement is another example of how we are creating a safe and compassionate healing environment for our patients and colleagues,” said Chad Towner, President/CEO SJHS.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate more than 331 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the U.S. The vaccines have proven to be safe and effective against symptomatic infections, hospitalizations and death with more than 99% of COVID-19 deaths today occurring in unvaccinated people.
“The prevention of disease and preservation of health is the core of high quality health care. Requiring a highly effective and safe vaccine to prevent this exceptionally transmissible and dangerous disease is simply the right thing to do to protect our patients and workforce,” said Genevieve Lankowicz, MD, SJHS Chief Clinical Officer.
Employees at Trinity Health and its Health Ministries must meet a series of rolling deadlines, with most locations requiring them to submit proof of vaccination by Sept. 21, 2021. It has not yet been determined if a COVID-19 vaccine booster will be required annually, but if so, employees will also need to submit proof of the booster as needed. Exemptions are available for religious or health reasons and must be formally requested, documented and approved.
We have carefully acknowledged and evaluated our decision surrounding this requirement. As a trusted voice of our community, our patients and colleagues are looking to us to keep them safe. With this in mind, colleagues who refuse COVID-19 vaccination and do not receive an approved exemption, will no longer be employed by our organization.
About Saint Joseph Health System
Saint Joseph Health System (SJHS) is a not-for-profit health care system located in North Central Indiana that offers acute-based hospital care and post-acute services including: community wellness, physical rehabilitation, home care, physician clinics, outpatient services, independent and assisted senior living, memory care and affordable senior apartments. SJHS includes: Mishawaka Medical Center; Plymouth Medical Center; Rehabilitation Institute; Outpatient services of the Elm Road Medical Campus; Health Insurance Services; Saint Joseph Physician Network; VNA Home Care; Senior Living Communities at St. Paul’s, Holy Cross and Trinity Tower; and Saint Joseph PACE. SJHS serves more than 200,000 members of the Michiana community annually. SJHS is a Regional Health Ministry of Trinity Health in Livonia, Mich.