Ascension healthcare to require COVID vaccinations with delta surging

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The national Ascension healthcare organization is joining other health providers in requiring employees and associates to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, including at St. Vincent locations in Indiana. 

Associates have until Nov. 12 to receive the vaccine doses. The company estimates there are roughly 14,700 associates in Indiana. 

The announcement follows Indiana University Health’s requirement for employees to be vaccinated by Sep. 1.

“Tens of thousands of Ascension associates have already been vaccinated with the available vaccines, as have millions of people across the country and the world,” the company said in a news release announcing the requirement on Wednesday. “But we must do more to overcome this pandemic as we provide safe environments for those we serve.”

Ascension St. Vincent has multiple locations throughout Indiana, including hospitals in Indianapolis and Carmel. The healthcare organization recently announced a $325 million expansion on 86th Street in Indianapolis.

The vaccine requirement comes as the city and nation grapples with the delta variant of the coronavirus. On Tuesday, the state reported more than 1,000 new daily cases — the first time Indiana has reached above that mark in several weeks. The majority of recent cases are the delta variant. 

More COVID news: Gov. Holcomb unlikely to require masks in Indiana despite latest CDC guidance. Here’s why.

School mask mandate: Masks required at Indianapolis Public Schools, unless you prove you’re fully vaccinated

Also on Tuesday, the Marion County Public Health Department recommended everyone to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status, following the federal CDC’s recommendation to do so.

Ascension will require all associates to be vaccinated, regardless of whether they provide direct patient care or work from home. This includes people employed by Ascension subsidiaries and partners, physicians, and volunteers and vendors entering Ascension facilities. 

People unable to get the vaccine due to medical conditions or a strongly held religious belief may request an exemption, the company said. That exemption process will be similar to the one the company uses for exemption from the annual influenza vaccine. 

“Together, we will put this pandemic behind us so that we can continue to focus on meeting the needs of those who come to us for care,” the company said.

Call IndyStar reporter Amelia Pak-Harvey at 317-444-6175 or email her at apakharvey@indystar.com. Follow her on Twitter @AmeliaPakHarvey.



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