Chesapeake Regional Healthcare, Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters Health System, Riverside Health System and Sentara Healthcare all announced they have each expanded their employee vaccination policies to include the expectation that all team members will be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 18, 2021. This timeline gives employees eight weeks to become fully vaccinated now that the FDA has approved at least one of the vaccines. The region’s healthcare organizations’ announcements come after the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association’s July 18, 2021 statement supporting COVID-19 vaccine requirements for all hospital and health system employees.

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, Hampton Roads’ leading healthcare providers believe they each have a moral and ethical responsibility to protect the health of their team members, patients, residents, and communities through a vaccination requirement.

Over the past several months, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has proven COVID-19 vaccines to effectively protect against the COVID-19 virus. The Pfizer vaccine, for example, carries 88% efficacy against the highly contagious and rapidly spreading Delta variant . After thoughtful consideration and deliberation of this data and the positive impacts required vaccination would have for the community, the four Hampton Roads healthcare organizations each join a growing list of hospitals and health systems across the U.S. in protecting public health by requiring vaccination. Additionally, both statewide and national organizations including the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Nurses Association  support vaccination requirements.

“We applaud Chesapeake Regional Healthcare, Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters Health System, Riverside Health System and Sentara Healthcare for taking this important step in the name of public health and safety,” said Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association President and CEO Sean T. Connaughton. “Virginia hospitals and health systems have helped lead the way on vaccination efforts in the Commonwealth, having collectively administered more than 2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses since December 2020, including thousands of shots given to health care professionals.”

Each healthcare organization began the process of notifying their respective team members of the new policy update this morning. Consistent with each organization’s current vaccine policy guidelines, this extends to all affiliated physicians, volunteers, students and others who work in and for the health systems. Organizations outlined their specific vaccine policies, provided resources about the safety and benefits of vaccination, and how to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine.

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