UW Health now requires COVID-19 vaccination for all employees

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- UW Health announced a new requirement that providers and staff receive a COVID-19 vaccination, in line with its pre-existing requirement to receive a flu vaccine on Wednesday, Aug. 4.

Officials say 90% of UW Health's staff are already fully vaccinated. Dr. Jeff Pothof, chief quality officer at UW Health, said this is an opportunity to send a good message to patients, staff and the broader community.

“These vaccines are safe; they are effective at preventing transmission; and for those who do contract COVID-19, they reduce the possibility of serious illness, hospitalizations or even death,” Pothof said. “As we confront the rapid spread of COVID-19 throughout Wisconsin, driven by the delta variant, we want to do everything possible to protect our staff, our patients and our community.”

Employees must start their COVID-19 vaccination no later than Oct. 1 and receive a second or final dose by Nov. 1. Officials say staff who have a documented medical condition or a religious conviction as defined in state law can file for an exemption to the vaccine requirement. 

Vaccine doses and appointments are available now for staff and patients. 

“Throughout almost 18 months of pandemic response, the safety of our staff, our patients and our community has guided every decision we made,” Pothof said. “Today we are taking a next important step to vaccinate our community, because these vaccines are the most powerful tool we have in our efforts to end this long pandemic.”

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