Trinity Health announced it will require all colleagues, clinical staff, contractors and those conducting business in its health care facilities to be vaccinated against COVID-19, effective immediately.
The requirement applies to Trinity Health’s more than 117,000 employees in 22 states nationwide to stop the spread of the virus and keep all patients, colleagues and the broader communities safe.
This includes roughly 24,000 Trinity Health Michigan colleagues working across five Saint Joseph Mercy Health System hospitals, three Mercy Health hospitals and two employed medical groups — IHA and Mercy Health Physician Partners.
Since December 2020, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first vaccine for emergency use authorization, Trinity Health has strongly encouraged vaccination for all colleagues and within the communities its various Health Ministries serve.
To date, the health system estimates nearly 75% of Trinity Health employees have already received at least one dose of the vaccine, and the organization now looks to close the gap with this new requirement.
“As a faith-based health care system, we have pledged to protect the most vulnerable, those that have a high risk of developing severe health complications if they were to contract this deadly virus,” said Rob Casalou, president and CEO of Trinity Health Michigan and Southeast Regions. “We are grateful to all colleagues working inside our hospitals and specifically those navigating the frontlines. We understand that not everyone will agree with this decision, but after listening to their feedback and after careful consideration, we know this to be the right decision.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 331 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the U.S. The vaccines have proven to be safe and effective against symptomatic infections, hospitalizations and death with more than 99% of COVID-19 deaths today occurring in unvaccinated people.
Employees at Trinity Health and its health ministries must meet a series of rolling deadlines with most locations requiring them to submit proof of vaccination by Sept. 21.
It has not yet been determined if a COVID-19 vaccine booster will be required annually, but if so, employees also will need to submit proof of the booster as needed. Exemptions are available for religious or health reasons and must be formally requested, documented and approved. Employees who do not meet the criteria for exemption and fail to show proof of vaccination will have their employment terminated.