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Mercy to require COVID-19 vaccines for employees

The requirement comes as the delta variant quickly spreads throughout Missouri

ST. LOUIS — One of the St. Louis area’s largest hospital systems will require employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine this fall. Mercy announced the mandate Wednesday, saying workers will need to get the shot or shots by Sept. 30.

“As health care leaders in our communities, it is important we set the standard to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. William Sistrunk, an infectious disease specialist at Mercy. “Vaccination is our best defense against the virus and already has provided many of our co-workers with the protection they need to care for our patients.”

The requirement comes as the delta variant quickly spreads throughout Missouri, leading to an increase in hospitalizations through the state, especially in southwest Missouri. Mercy said its own data mirrors what the Associated Press recently found, that most COVID-19 patients recently have not been vaccinated.

“More than 95% of recent hospitalizations across the U.S. are people who aren’t vaccinated. The data is clear. Vaccination is key to saving lives,” said Dr. John Mohart, Mercy’s senior vice president of clinical services.

READ ALSO: Mercy St. Louis sending ventilators to Springfield as hospitalizations spike in Missouri

Mercy’s requirement extends to those who work and serve in Mercy facilities.

The hospital is the last of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force hospitals to require COVID-19 vaccines for employees. SSM Health, BJC HealthCare and St. Luke’s have announced requirements over the last several weeks.

Along with the hospital systems, Washington University – which is affiliated with multiple BJC facilities – also announced all of its faculty, staff and trainees will be required to be vaccinated. Several universities also are requiring vaccinations, including SLU, WashU and SIUE.