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SSM Health to require all employees be vaccinated for COVID-19 by late September

SSM Health joins St. Luke's and BJC as other St. Louis area hospitals to require employees to get vaccinated

ST. LOUIS — SSM Health is joining other area healthcare providers in requiring employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

SSM Health announced on Monday that it will be requiring its nearly 40,000 employees, providers and volunteers to be fully vaccinated by the end of September. SSM said team members can request an exemption for medical or religious reasons, which is consistent with practices for other required vaccines.

Dr. Shephali Wulff, the system director for infectious diseases, says they weighed a number of factors in making this decision, including the fact Missouri now ranks No. 1 in the nation for new coronavirus cases.

"I think it really pushed our timetable," she said of the staggering statistic. "I think if our infection rate had been flat, and if we weren't worried about the Delta variant being about 30% of cases in Missouri, knowing that our vaccination rate is about 40% for the state of Missouri, I think our timetable might have been a little bit different."

Currently, about 65% of the SSM Health workforce is vaccinated. Soon, all will be, even if they previously caught COVID naturally.

"We know that the immunity is more reliable," Dr. Wulff said of the protections that come from the vaccine. "We know that it's probably more durable than that of natural infection. And we know that it protects against varients, which we don't know that to be true for natural infection."

SSM Health joins St. Luke's and BJC as other St. Louis area hospitals to require employees get vaccinated. St. Luke's announced all employees will be required to be vaccinated by Aug. 13.

Along with announcing an employee vaccine requirement, SSM also urged the public to continue getting vaccinated as well, as the Delta variant of COVID-19 sparks another wave of infections.

“These vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective at providing long-lasting immunity to COVID-19,” said Dr. Todd Shuman, MD, SSM Health Chief Medical Officer. “However, we haven’t yet reached a level of vaccination that provides herd immunity, which is why we’re continuing to see dangerous surges in many communities.”

SSM Health said in the past seven months it has administered close to 240,000 vaccines for employees and members of the community.

“As health care providers, we’ve seen the devastating impact of this disease first-hand,” said Dr. Shuman. “The fight against COVID-19 is not yet over. We must continue to be vigilant in doing everything we can to protect our team members, patients and communities.”

To schedule a vaccine appointment through SSM Health, you can click here.

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