COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Several large hospitals in Central Ohio announced Tuesday they will require COVID-19 vaccine for staff, providers and volunteers.
By October 1 at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, by October 15 at Wexner Medical Center, and December 1 at OhioHealth, everyone in a professional or volunteer capacity must have received the COVID-19 vaccine. Mt. Carmel already announced a vaccination mandate, with a final deadline at the end of the year.
Even volunteers, students, vendors, independent physicians, and people in non-patient-facing roles must comply with the decisions.
In an email statement to NBC, an NCH spokesperson said: “The majority of our patients are under the age of 12 and unable at this time to receive the vaccine, making them among the most vulnerable. With the onset of the new, highly contagious Delta variant and recent surges in COVID-19 cases across many of our communities, we must ensure that all our team members are protected and do our part in creating the safest environment possible for all those we serve.”
Wexner Medical Center said in an email statement: “With the highly infectious Delta variant and cases rising once again in Ohio, now is the time to move forward with this expansion of our vaccine requirements to include the COVID-19 vaccine.”
OhioHealth also requires employees, providers, volunteers, vendors and students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by December 1.
“What we know for certain is that all three available vaccines are safe and effective in preventing hospitalization and death from COVID-19,” said Amy Imm, MD, vice president, Quality and Patient Safety, OhioHealth in the company’s media release. “With the Delta variant surging in Ohio and across the nation, now is the appropriate time for us to take an additional step to protect our patients, our ourselves, and each other.”
Multiple studies have confirmed the vaccines’ safety and efficacy, the release said.
“I’ve talked with a number of people who were vaccine hesitant and once they are truly open to understanding the science behind the vaccine, they tend to get the shot,” said Joe Gastaldo, MD, medical director of Infectious Diseases, OhioHealth, in the OhioHealth media release.
“The data tells the real story here and that is, if you look at all the deaths from COVID-19 in the last few months, 99 percent of them were among people who were not vaccinated. These deaths are largely preventable and that’s a real shame for the thousands of families and friends who have lost a loved one to COVID-19.”
In addition to the COVID-19 vaccine, OhioHealth also requires associates, providers and volunteers receive an annual flu vaccine as well as the Measles, Mumps, Rubella and Varicella vaccines upon employment. Religious and medical exemptions may be granted to those who meet the exemption criteria, the release said.