Ascension employees will have to get the COVID-19 vaccine, the 146-hospital system announced Tuesday.
Ascension's mandate follows many health systems across the country that have also required employees to get vaccinated. The St. Louis-based chain's new policy applies to all employees, including administrative and remote workers, as well as those employed by Ascension subsidiaries.
"As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and new variants of the virus emerge, Ascension continues to focus on ensuring our associates are protected—for the safety of patients and visitors, our associates, our families and loved ones, and the community. Like many health systems across the country, including in many of our markets, we are moving to require our associates to be vaccinated against COVID-19," the health system said in a news release.
Prominent health systems like the Mayo Clinic and the Henry Ford Health System have adopted vaccination requirements for workers, as has the Department of Veterans Affairs. National hospital trade associations have endorsed the policy for their members, including the American Hospital Association, America's Essential Hospitals and the Catholic Health Association of the U.S. The American Medical Association, American Nurses Association and other healthcare groups also support mandatory vaccinations for workers in medical settings. The Federation of American Hospitals has not recommended mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for its member companies' employees, nor has the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living.
Ascension's announcement comes on the heels of new masking guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as COVID-19 cases surge across the country, predominantly among unvaccinated people.
Fully vaccinated residents in COVID-19 hot spots, which include nearly two-thirds of U.S. counties, should resume wearing masks indoors, the CDC advised. Everyone in K-12 schools should wear masks regardless of vaccination status, the agency said.