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Saint Luke's Becomes Second Local Hospital System To Require COVID-19 Vaccinations For All Workers

saint_lukes_kcmo2.jpg
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Saint Luke's Hospital of Kansas City on 44th and Wornall Road.

The vaccine requirement applies to all Saint Luke’s employees, affiliated staff and contractors, students and volunteers.

Saint Luke’s Health System has become the second local hospital network to require all of its employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The network made the announcement a little more than a month after Truman Medical Centers/University Health became the first local hospital system to mandate vaccinations for its employees.

Saint Luke’s noted that its decision follows what it called “a dramatic surge” in cases and hospitalizations across the Kansas City area, overwhelming hospital ICUs.

“Our job is to protect and care for the health of our patients. COVID-19 is spreading rapidly and is causing devastating loss,” Dr. Melinda L. Estes, president and CEO of Saint Luke’s, said in a news release. “As healthcare professionals, the most important action each of us can take to end this pandemic is to get vaccinated.”

The vaccine requirement applies to all Saint Luke’s employees, affiliated staff and contractors, students and volunteers. Anyone granted an exemption will have to undergo weekly COVID testing and monitoring.

Truman is requiring all members of its workforce to be vaccinated by Sept. 20. Leslie Carto, a spokeswoman for the hospital network, said that about 70% of the staff had been fully vaccinated a month ago. She was unable to say how many more have been fully vaccinated since then.

The Saint Luke's mandate comes a week after the Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for the prevention of the disease in individuals 16 years of age and older.

The vaccine remains available under emergency use authorization for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and as booster shots for immunocompromised individuals.

Meanwhile, Moderna has completed its submission for full FDA approval of its COVID-19 vaccine.

As a reporter covering breaking news and legal affairs, I want to demystify often-complex legal issues in order to expose the visible and invisible ways they affect people’s lives. I cover issues of justice and equity, and seek to ensure that significant and often under-covered developments get the attention they deserve so that KCUR listeners and readers are equipped with the knowledge they need to act as better informed citizens. Email me at dan@kcur.org.
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