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. Ascension conducted a thorough moral and ethical analysis as part of the decision-making process. This decision is rooted in our Mission commitment to leading with quality and safety. As a healthcare provider and as a Catholic ministry, ensuring we have a culture of safety for our associates, patients and communities is foundational to our work.
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. But we must do more to overcome this pandemic as we provide safe environments for those we serve.
Ascension will require that all associates be vaccinated against COVID-19, whether or not they provide direct patient care, and whether they work in our sites of care or remotely. This includes associates employed by subsidiaries and partners; physicians and advanced practice providers, whether employed or independent; and volunteers and vendors entering Ascension facilities.
Our timeline for completing the vaccine series and meeting this requirement will be Nov. 12, 2021. This timing is aligned with Ascension’s annual influenza vaccination requirement and we will follow a similar implementation process. In those instances when someone may not be able to get vaccinated due to a medical condition or strongly held religious belief, Ascension will provide its associates a process for requesting an exemption similar to the process we use for the annual influenza vaccine. In addition, this requirement will be implemented in accordance with collective bargaining agreements reached between Ascension business entities and unions representing our associates.
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.