Meanwhile, employees, contractors and students at two-hospital Cook County Health must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 1, and those at four-hospital Sinai Chicago must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 15.
The announcements follow mandates at other large Chicago-area health systems, including Loyola Medicine and the University of Chicago Medicine. They also come hours after Cook County’s public health department came out in support of vaccine mandates for healthcare workers as the delta variant spreads.
“It is an obligation for healthcare workers to protect themselves from contracting diseases they could pass onto their patients,” Dr. Rachel Rubin, who co-leads the Cook County Department of Public Health, said in a statement today.
Workers must be fully vaccinated or “demonstrate a verifiable medical or religious exemption,” Cook County Health CEO Israel Rocha said in a separate statement, noting that employees not in compliance with the mandate will be subject to disciplinary action, such as termination.
While many large Chicago-area hospitals and health systems are mandating COVID-19 vaccines, Northwestern Medicine, Amita Health and Edward-Elmhurst Health are not among them. However, a representative for Edward-Elmhurst told Crain’s it will mandate the vaccine in the “near future.”
Some local hospitals said early in the vaccine rollout that they likely wouldn’t issue a mandate until the shots got FDA approved. The vaccines currently are authorized under emergency-use rules. However, the highly contagious delta variant has led many healthcare employers to speed up their timelines. Outgoing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo today announced that all healthcare workers in the state, including staff at hospitals and long-term care facilities, must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 27.
“It is our mission to protect our patients, our communities, our families and each other. To do that we have to ensure we are all doing our part to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19 and its emerging variants,” Sinai CEO Karen Teitelbaum said in a statement today.
Other hospitals and health systems mandating COVID-19 vaccines include: University of Illinois Hospital, Rush University Medical Center, Rush Oak Park Hospital, 26-hospital Advocate Aurora Health and Lurie Children’s Hospital.
This story first appeared in our sister publication, Crain's Chicago Business.