Edward-Elmhurst Health (EEH) is mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for all employees, physicians on the Medical Staff, advance practice practitioners, volunteers, vendors, contractors, students and instructors. Vaccinations must be completed by October 25. Exemptions will be granted for approved medical and religious reasons. EEH has 8,500 employees, including 1,900 nurses, 2,000 physicians on its Medical Staff, plus 1,200 volunteers.
EEH’s decision is based on evidence that is clear and straightforward – those who receive the COVID-19 vaccination are less likely to suffer from severe disease, persistent health consequences of infection and even death.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has verified the safety of the vaccine. More than 163 million people in the United States have been vaccinated, more than two billion vaccinations have been given worldwide and the vaccine has proven to be effective in preventing the devastating effects of a COVID-19 infection.
“We believe that our patients have a right to expect healthcare workers to have taken all steps to minimize the risk of infection, including vaccination,” says Mary Lou Mastro, System CEO, Edward-Elmhurst Health. “Hospitals have a unique role in the fight against COVID-19, as evidenced by the fact that healthcare workers were the first to be vaccinated. Quite simply, healthcare workers are at risk for COVID-19, especially when unvaccinated, and our teams are in contact with vulnerable patients every day, many who are elderly, sick or immunocompromised.
“We recognize that not everyone will agree with this decision. The ethical framework under which we operate, however, means that it is our responsibility to do good, and an individual’s right to autonomy ends when that person’s actions may harm others. Vaccines, fully supported by the medical community, have been protecting people from disease for centuries, nearly eliminating smallpox, polio, rubella and others. This is the right thing to do.”