Kaiser Permanente will require all of its employees nationwide get vaccinated against Covid-19 by Sept. 30.
Roughly 22% of Kaiser employees and 5% of Kaiser physicians haven’t been vaccinated as of July 31, according to Kaiser.
Michelle Gaskill-Hames, Kaiser’s senior vice president for hospital and health plan operations in Northern California, said Kaiser had to negotiate with its labor unions to write the vaccine requirement.
While Gaskill-Hames avoided giving exact numbers, she did confirm that Kaiser has had some so-called breakthrough Covid-19 cases among its vaccinated staff members. She said the number of those cases has been low, even when compared to other health care organizations and hospital settings.
Across the entire Kaiser system, roughly 97%-99% of current hospital admissions have been among unvaccinated people.
The mandate will apply across all of Kaiser’s locations in Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Oregon, Virginia, Washington and Washington, D.C. in addition to the health care provider’s locations in California, where Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a requirement last week for all health care workers to get vaccinated or be subject to frequent Covid-19 testing.
Across the country, Kaiser has more than 216,000 employees and employs more than 23,000 physicians.
Gaskill-Hames said Kaiser will require its unvaccinated workers to begin testing regularly on Aug. 23, but that Kaiser officials hoped to go one step further and render the testing requirement unnecessary after Sept. 30 by reaching full vaccination.
Gaskill-Hames also argued that the best way to support the industry is to get vaccinated and significantly reduce the chance of getting hospitalized because of a Covid-19 infection. — Bay City News