Sentara Healthcare requiring COVID-19 vaccines for all medical staff, team members

Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 1:54 PM EDT
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital and Sentara RMH Medical Center expect all of their medical staff and team members to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 18.

Sentara Healthcare said Wednesday, August 25, this timeline will give employees eight weeks to become fully vaccinated. Additionally, it stated, “The highly contagious Delta variant is causing another spike in the number of COVID-19 infections nationally, with unvaccinated individuals at the highest risk. As the community’s front-line defense against COVID-19, Sentara believes it has a moral and ethical responsibility to protect the health of its team members, patients, residents, and communities through a vaccination requirement.”

Sentara team members were reportedly notified of the new requirement Wednesday morning.

Though policies around the COVID-19 vaccine have been discussed prior to this week, Sentara CEO Dr. Jordan Asher says the news of the FDA’s full authorization of the Pfizer shot influenced the decision.

“We didn’t know the exact age, we didn’t know if there were going to be parts of the approval where certain population types were excluded,” Asher said. “But the approval did not exclude anyone unless you’re allergic to it.”

Here’s what Asher said about the potential penalties for not following the new requirement:

“We already have policies in place around this type of situation for other vaccines. It’s called a progressive disciplinary process, and it has different steps. And so if we do have a progressive disciplinary process, that could ultimately create a separation from employment.”

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