Sanford will require COVID-19 vaccinations for their doctors & nurses by November 1st

PIERRE, S.D.(DRGNews)- Sanford Health is requiring all employees to get a COVID-19 vaccination by Nov. 1. At this point, Avera Health has not issued a similar mandate.

Sanford Health president and CEO Bill Gassen says the vaccine requirement is another step toward providing the safest possible environment for patients, residents and staff. He says as more contagious COVID-19 variants continue to spread, they must do everything they can to protect each other and our loved ones.

Gassen says as with other vaccines, Sanford Health will allow certain exemptions for medical or religious reasons. He says across Sanford’s entire system, more than 90% of clinicians and 70% of nurses are fully vaccinated.

Avera Director of Media Relations, Corporate Communications and Marketing Cale Feller told DRG Media Group, “At this time, Avera is evaluating the topic of requiring vaccines for employees. We are grateful for those who have received their vaccinations – and continue to encourage all others who are eligible to get vaccinated.”

Feller says COVID-19 vaccines have shown to provide safe, effective protection against this virus. He says Avera believes “having a high percentage of vaccinated individuals is the only path out of the pandemic – and how we can prevent future increases in cases.”

On Wednesday, the American Hospital Association announced its support of hospitals and health systems that implement mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies for health care personnel.