Children’s Mercy Hospital is the newest Kansas City hospital to announce that all employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The children’s 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 past few weeks.
Children’s Mercy says all employees, including contractors, students, and volunteers, must be fully vaccinated by December 15, unless given a hospital-approved medical or religious exemption.
The hospital with 367 beds employs more than 8,000 people.
“As the leading academic child health system, we are primarily committed to doing everything in our power to improve the health and safety of our patients, many of whom are age-unvaccinated, and our employees,” said Paul Kempinski, said the President and CEO of the hospital in a statement. “Our community expects us to be role models, advocate and promote child health, and the best way to protect children is to vaccinate everyone who is entitled.”
Kempinski said that although 80% of the hospital’s staff have already been vaccinated, “we believe we can and must do better”.
“By making a commitment to this policy, we are doing our part – fulfilling our obligation – to protect our patients, staff and the community, and to stop the devastating effects of the pandemic,” he said.
The Food and Drug Administration granted full approval of the Pfizer BioNTech two-dose vaccine for people aged 16 and over on August 23. The two-dose Moderna vaccine is expected to receive similar approval soon.
Children’s Mercy employees must receive either one of these vaccines or the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine.
Nearly 54% of eligible Missouri residents have received at least one dose of the vaccines. That’s 63% of the US population.
Studies have repeatedly shown that fully vaccinated people are highly protected from serious infections, hospitalizations, and deaths from the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
A study published this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that unvaccinated people are more than 10 times more likely to be hospitalized and 11 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those who are fully vaccinated.