Advocate Aurora Health to require vaccination for employees
Advocate Aurora Health will require employees to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by Oct. 15.
The mandate affects about 75,000 people, including medical staff, employees who are not in contact with patients, remote workers, volunteers and on-site vendors "with limited exceptions for specific religious or medical reasons," the health system announced in a news release.
"We are first and foremost a safe, clinical enterprise. Our ultimate duty is to protect the health and safety of our team members, patients and communities," President and CEO Jim Skogsbergh told employees Wednesday in a video. "The data is overwhelming. This vaccine is safe, and it's highly effective in preventing infection and even more so, serious illness and death."
Advocate Aurora joins Loyola Medicine, University of Chicago Medicine, University of Illinois Health and Rush Health in requiring employees to be vaccinated. Rush is requiring vaccination by Oct. 1 at all facilities except Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora "at this time," spokesman Tobin Klinger said last week.
COVID-19 hospitalizations at Advocate Aurora facilities have increased fivefold over the past three weeks, the news release said. The highly contagious delta variant of the disease is surging across the nation, mainly among the unvaccinated.
"While COVID is far from gone, our story is still being written. Let this decision to mandate vaccines be another chapter in our book -- one that says we have done everything we can to keep our patients, our communities and each other safe and healthy," Skogsbergh said.
Advocate Aurora has 500 hospitals, clinics and other sites in Wisconsin and Illinois. Hospitals include Advocate Children's Hospital in Park Ridge, Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Good Samaritan in Downers Grove, Good Shepherd in Barrington, Lutheran General in Park Ridge and Sherman in Elgin.