Baylor Scott & White Health and Ascension are requiring staff, vendors, volunteers, and associates to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the fall of 2021. Staff photo
As the COVID-19 Delta variant grabs a foothold across Texas, two major healthcare providers with hospitals and clinics in the Highland Lakes are taking an additional step in protecting their patients, staffs, and communities.
Baylor Scott & White Health set a deadline of Oct. 1 for all of its employees, providers, volunteers, vendors, students, and contract staff to be fully vaccinated unless granted an exemption.
“With the rapidly rising COVID-19 case counts due to the highly contagious Delta variant and the start of the flu season fast approaching, we believe now is the right time to take the next step in achieving a fully vaccinated workforce,” Baylor Scott & White Health officials stated in a media release.
Ascension officials announced a plan to have all associates, whether or not they provide direct care, vaccinated by Nov. 12. The plan falls in line with its influenza vaccine requirement.
Those affected include “associates employed by subsidiaries and partners; physicians and advanced practice providers, whether employed or independent; and volunteers and vendors entering Ascension facilities.”
Seton Ascension does have an exemption process for those who cannot get a vaccine due to a medical condition or strongly held religious belief.
“Ascension conducted a thorough moral and ethical analysis as part of the decision-making process,” the healthcare provider stated in a media release. “This decision is rooted in our Mission commitment to leading with quality and safety. As a healthcare provider and as a Catholic ministry, ensuring we have a culture of safety for our associates, patients and communities is foundational to our work.”
Many associates with both healthcare organizations are already vaccinated.
After a decline in COVID-19 cases, Texas and other states are now experiencing a strong resurgence mostly due to the virus’ Delta variant.
“The Delta variant is the most contagious and dangerous strain we have seen to date, leading to exponentially increasing rates of severe illness and hospitalization,” according to the Baylor Scott & White Health statement. “The overwhelming majority of these cases are among the unvaccinated.”
“We are committed to making the communities we serve healthier,” the Baylor Scott & White Health release stated. “Whether you are a patient, family member or employee, you can be assured that we have taken every measure to protect you.”