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Children’s Mercy Joins List Of Kansas City-Area Hospitals Requiring COVID-19 Vaccinations

Julie Denesha
KCUR 89.3

The hospital's president and CEO said that while 80% of the hospital’s employees have been vaccinated already, “we believe we can and must do better.”

Children’s Mercy Hospital is the latest Kansas City-area hospital to announce it will require all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The pediatric hospital joins the University of Kansas Health System, Truman Centers/University Health, Saint Luke’s Health System and North Kansas City Hospital, all of which have issued similar mandates in the last several weeks.

Children’s Mercy said all employees, including contractors, students and volunteers must be fully vaccinated by Dec. 15, unless they obtain a medical or religious exemption approved by the hospital.

The 367-bed hospital employs more than 8,000 workers.

“First and foremost, as a preeminent academic children’s health system, we are obligated to do everything we can to improve the health and safety of our patients, many of whom are unvaccinated due to their age, and of our employees,” Paul Kempinski, the hospital’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “Our community looks to us to role model, advocate for and promote pediatric health, and the best way to protect children is for all eligible people to be vaccinated.”

Kempinski said that while 80% of the hospital’s employees have been vaccinated already, “we believe we can and must do better.”

“By committing to this policy, we are doing our part – honoring our obligation – to keep our patients, employees, and community safe, and to halt the pandemic’s devastating impact,” he said.

The Food and Drug Administration granted full approval on Aug. 23 to the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for individuals age 16 and up. It’s expected to grant similar approval soon to the two-dose Moderna vaccine.

Children’s Mercy employees will be required to receive either of those vaccines or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Nearly 54% of eligible Missouri residents have received at least one dose of the vaccines. That compares with 63% of the U.S. population.

Studies have repeatedly shown that fully vaccinated people are highly protected against severe infection, hospitalization and death caused by the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.

A study released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that unvaccinated people were more than 10 times more likely to be hospitalized and 11 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than those who were fully vaccinated.

Dan Margolies has been a reporter for the Kansas City Business Journal, The Kansas City Star, and KCUR Public Radio. He retired as a reporter in December 2022 after a 37-year journalism career.
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