MEMPHIS, Tenn. — UPDATE 8/12/2021: Baptist to require COVID vaccine for all employees
8/11/2021 - Baptist Hospital is requiring all vendors that come in and out of the hospitals to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The hospital said Wednesday, despite a 7-day average of 585 new cases in Shelby County, it will not be mandating its own employees to take a vaccine.
Baptist Hospital is also the area's second-largest employer with 19,000 workers. It recently reported more than 42% of its workers are unvaccinated. In a memo, the hospital reminded all its vendors that by August 1 they needed to be vaccinated or have a medical declination to enter any buildings. Baptist Hospital said the vast majority of its vendors are complying with the mandate.
The medical supply vendor who shared the memo said he doesn't have a problem with the requirement, but the hospital should stop sending mixed signals on vaccination mandates.
Infectious disease specialist Dr. Manoj Jain said COVID-19 vaccinations in hospitals should be mandated for all workers.
"All hospitals should require all healthcare workers to be vaccinated," Jain said. "This is a no-brainer."
The American Hospital Association said having healthcare workers vaccinated reduces the risk of infection and spreading it.
"The AHA also supports hospitals and health systems that adopt mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies for health care personnel, with local factors and circumstances shaping whether and how these policies are implemented," the AHA said.
Dr. Jain doesn't think a vaccine mandate will drive employees away, as many employers fear.
"When you require people to be vaccinated in the hospital setting, we go from 60 to 70% vaccination to 95 to 98% vaccination," Jain said.