PeaceHealth, a health system based in Vancouver, Washington, with four hospitals in Lane County, announced that starting Aug. 31, all caregivers will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit a qualifying medical exemption.
The mandate will apply to Oregon employees, but it’s not immediately clear how it will work with Oregon’s existing state law barring employers from requiring healthcare workers to get vaccinated “as a condition of employment.”
According to the news release from PeaceHealth, unvaccinated individuals will be subject to regular COVID-19 testing, as well as additional masking, potential reassignment to non-patient care settings and other safety protocols. The policy will apply to all caregivers, including providers, students, contractors, vendors and volunteers.
“Though nearly 80% of PeaceHealth caregivers have already been vaccinated, the rise in hospitalizations in our communities is a stark reminder that we are facing a public health emergency and we must do more,” Dr. Doug Koekkoek, PeaceHealth’s chief physician executive, said in the release. “We believe all healthcare workers who are medically able should get a COVID-19 vaccine to keep themselves, our patients and our communities safe.”
PeaceHealth pointed out that the organization is following health systems and professional organizations across the country in requiring vaccines, including the Catholic Health Association, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association.
Earlier this week, Kaiser Permanente also announced it would be starting to mandate the vaccines for physicians and all employees.
Kaiser is based in Oakland, California, but told OPB its new mandate applies in Oregon.
Contact reporter Tatiana Parafiniuk-Talesnick at Tatiana@registerguard.com or 541-521-7512, and follow her on Twitter @TatianaSophiaPT. Want more stories like this? Subscribe to get unlimited access and support local journalism.