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MetroHealth to require COVID-19 vaccine for employees, contractors, volunteers

Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 10:23 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 26, 2021 at 3:23 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - MetroHealth on Thursday announced staff will be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

According to MetroHealth, more than 80% of their staff is already vaccinated. However, per the new requirement, employees, contractors and volunteers who are not vaccinated must do so by Oct. 30. Staff who refuse are subject to disciplinary actions, including termination.

“I do not want to compromise safety and tell a patient to come to Metro Health and roll the dice, we’re not sure if we’re going to pass that infection on to you or not,” said Dr. Akram Boutros Metro Health President and CEO.

Those who cannot be vaccinated for medical or religious reasons must receive an exemption by the Oct. 30 deadline, according to a news release from the hospital system.

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Dr. Boutros does expect that the hospital will lose some employees but said they could not afford to make the decision in fear that employees would walk out the door.

Staffing shortages are an issue that was considered.

“We work in a collaborative manner with other health systems to if there are staff shortages we’ll work with them to make sure the community is receiving the care it needs,” Dr. Boutros said.

The hospital will not be offering incentives to employees to take the vaccine.

MetroHealth said vaccinations against the flu, measles, mumps and rubella are already required for staff. “Vaccine requirements for health care employees are nothing new,” a MetroHealth spokesperson wrote in the press release.

MetroHealth joins Summa Health and Akron Children’s Hospital in mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for staff.

As of Thursday, University Hospitals and the Cleveland Clinic have not done the same.

MetroHealth’s announcement comes after the American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, American Hospital Association and Ohio Hospital Association encouraged hospitals to require vaccinations, according to the release.

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