Intermountain Healthcare, one of the largest employers in the state of Utah, has announced Wednesday that all of its nearly 40,000 caregivers must get vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to “comply with federal vaccination requirements announced by President Biden in September.”
The healthcare provider – which estimates 80% of its employees are already fully vaccinated against the coronavirus – is giving staff until Jan. 5 next year to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or Feb. 9 to get both doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
“We understand this may be a significant decision for some of those not yet vaccinated,” Mark Briesacher, chief physician executive and senior vice president of Intermountain, said in a statement. “Every employee is a valued member of the Intermountain Healthcare team, and we will walk with them through each step of this requirement.”
Ambulances line up at the entrance of the emergency room to drop off patients at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah, on Nov. 11 2020
(Photo by STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images)
“In order to remain fully compliant with federal requirements to care for the hundreds of thousands of patients in the communities that we serve, as well as for the safety and well-being of all patients and our caregivers, we’ve carefully made the decision to add this requirement,” he added.
Intermountain Healthcare also says it requires its staff to be vaccinated against diseases such as influenza, hepatitis, measles and mumps and pertussis. Like with those required vaccines, staff wishing to opt out of getting the COVID-19 jab can apply for an exemption on the basis of a medical condition or religious belief, it added.
President Joe Biden, with first lady Jill Biden, speaks during a visit at Brookland Middle School in northeast Washington, on Sept. 10. Biden has encouraged every school district to promote vaccines, including with on-site clinics.
Last month, President Biden announced businesses with more than 100 employees will be required to mandate coronavirus vaccines or administer weekly tests. Employers are also required to pay employees for time off to get vaccinated and recover from side effects.
The rule will take effect once the Office of Management and Budget finishes its review and it’s published in the federal register.
Fox News’ Brie Stimson contributed to this report.