The University of Pennsylvania Health System on Wednesday announced that all employees and clinical staff will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 1. Starting July 1, Penn Medicine also will require all new hires to be vaccinated before starting work.
"As an institution grounded in the science and art of healthcare, we believe it is imperative for the University of Pennsylvania Health System to take the lead in requiring employee vaccinations to protect our patients and staff and to set an example to the broader community as we work together to end the COVID-19 pandemic," a Penn Medicine spokesperson said.
Employees who can't receive the vaccine for medical or religious reasons can apply for an exemption, which aligns with the system's flu vaccine policy for more than a decade, the spokesperson said.
So far, 70% of employees and clinical staff—or 33,000 people—are fully vaccinated, and all employees have been offered the COVID-19 vaccine, the spokesperson said.
"The transformational mRNA technology discoveries at Penn that laid a foundation for the first COVID-19 vaccines are a tremendous point of pride, which further buoys our confidence in the science now being deployed to save lives across the globe," the spokesperson said.
Penn Medicine joins a growing number of other healthcare providers that are mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for workers. Houston Methodist led the effort by requiring all managers to either get the first dose of a vaccine or get an approved medical or religious exemption by April 15. All other employees have until June 7 to be vaccinated.