A major children’s hospital in Tennessee is the latest to announce a requirement that all employees be vaccinated against COVID-19.
In a memo to staff sent Wednesday afternoon, employees of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and its fundraising offshoot ALSAC, were informed of the requirement and given a Sept. 9 deadline to get vaccinated. “By September 10, employees who have refused vaccination or do not have an approved medical or religious exemption will be put on an unpaid administrative leave for two weeks,” wrote Dr. James R. Downing, president and CEO of the Memphis hospital.
“During this time, they have the opportunity to begin the vaccination process,” he added. “Those who fail to start the vaccination process will be terminated at the end of the two-week period.” Downing said that the spread of the delta variant is now responsible for some two-thirds of all COVID-19 cases in Memphis and Shelby County.
He also expressed concern over the recent uptick in cases in the area and the potential of a corresponding surge in hospitalizations. “Hundreds of millions of people around the world have safely received the COVID-19 vaccine,” Downing wrote. “The benefits far outweigh the risks.”
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