PeaceHealth, Kaiser Permanente will require COVID-19 vaccinations for caregivers

PeaceHealth will require all of its caregivers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, or submit a medical exemption, beginning Aug. 31.

Unvaccinated individuals will be subject to regular COVID-19 testing, as well as additional masking, potential reassignment to non-patient care settings and other safety protocols. The policy will apply to all caregivers, including providers, students, contractors, vendors and volunteers.

“Though nearly 80 percent of PeaceHealth caregivers have already been vaccinated, the rise in hospitalizations in our communities is a stark reminder that we are facing a public health emergency and we must do more,” said PeaceHealth Chief Physician Executive Dr. Doug Koekkoek. “We believe all healthcare workers who are medically able should get a COVID-19 vaccine to keep themselves, our patients, and our communities safe. Doing so is part of our mission to promote personal and community health and our vision to make sure that every person receives safe, compassionate care.”

While the organization has had high rates of voluntary caregiver vaccination, after deliberation and a formal ethical discernment, PeaceHealth joins many health systems across the country, and professional organizations including the Catholic Health Association, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association and others in ensuring public health by requiring vaccination.

Kaiser Permanente announced Monday, Aug. 2, that it will require its more than 216,000 health care workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or receive an exemption for medical or religious reasons by Sept. 30.

Dr. Bob K. Pelz, PeaceHealth’s system medical director of infection prevention, noted: “New variants of COVID-19 pose a critical threat to those unable to be vaccinated, including children and the medically vulnerable. It is our moral obligation to first do no harm and act for the common good. COVID-19 vaccines are proven to be the best way to protect ourselves and reduce the likelihood of harming others.”