Mercy co-workers will be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, effective Sept. 30, 2021.
The new requirement comes as the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly in Missouri, where Mercy has hospitals and clinics in Joplin, Springfield, St. Louis and other locations. Mercy also serves communities in Arkansas and Oklahoma, where COVID numbers are also increasing due to the Delta variant.
Mercy is seeing the real-world impact of the protection vaccines provide. The majority of Mercy patients recently hospitalized with COVID have not been vaccinated.
“What we are seeing aligns with the Associated Press analysis of CDC data,” said Dr. John Mohart, Mercy’s senior vice president of clinical services. “More than 95% of recent hospitalizations across the U.S. are people who aren’t vaccinated. The data is clear. Vaccination is key to saving lives.”
In requiring the vaccine for co-workers and others who serve and work in Mercy facilities, Mercy joins more than 20 other health care organizations across the U.S. in recognizing that vaccination serves the common good, protects patients who come to us for care and is crucial to safeguarding public health and bringing an end to the pandemic.
Both Pfizer and Moderna have applied to the Food and Drug Administration for full approval of their COVID-19 vaccines, which is expected soon. COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and have proven effective with over 171 million Americans already vaccinated.
“It is essential that we take these steps in order to protect the health of our co-workers and our patients at Mercy,” said Dr. William Sistrunk, Mercy infectious disease specialist. “As health care leaders in our communities, it is important we set the standard to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Vaccination is our best defense against the virus and already has provided many of our co-workers with the protection they need to care for our patients. Our goal is to ensure the safest possible work environment for our co-workers and patients while also being a part of the effort to stop the spread of the virus in the communities we serve.”
Mercy will work with co-workers to develop a plan for compliance ahead of the scheduled deadline. Mercy continues to strongly encourage vaccination throughout the community as well. For questions about the vaccine or to schedule an appointment, visit mercy.net/covidvaccine.
Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems for four consecutive years by IBM Watson Health, serves millions annually. Mercy is one of the nation’s most highly integrated, multi-state health care systems, including more than 40 acute care, managed and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, convenient urgent care locations, imaging centers and pharmacies. Mercy has 900 physician practices and outpatient facilities, more than 4,000 Mercy Clinic physicians and advanced practitioners and 40,000-plus co-workers serving patients and families across Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has clinics, outpatient services and outreach ministries in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. In addition, Mercy's IT division, Mercy Technology Services, and Mercy Virtual commercially serve providers and patients from coast to coast.