PHILADELPHIA, PA – According to reports, University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) has recently announced via a memo that as of July 1, 2021, all newly-hired personnel will be required to either have been vaccinated for COVID-19 a minimum of two weeks before starting their job, or to have valid proof that they have already received a vaccine.
UPHS is the Philadelphia-area’s largest health system, with about 44,000 employees.
If those requirements are not met by new hires – or if they have not applied for a potential medical or religious exemption – they will be subjected to disciplinary action, up to and including losing their job, the memo says.
According to a statement released by UPHS, it is important for the organization to set an example in regards to its personnel being vaccinated against COVID-19.
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“As an institution grounded in the science and art of healthcare, we believe it is imperative for the University of Pennsylvania Health System to take the lead in requiring employee vaccinations to protect our patients and staff and to set an example to the broader community as we work together to end the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement said.
Currently, 38 percent of Americans – 124 million people – have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Over 33,000 UPHS employees – which amounts to almost 70 percent of their workforce – have so far received the vaccine, according to the statement.
“Evidence is clear that COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be very safe and highly effective at preventing transmission, hospitalizations, and death from the virus,” UPHS said. “The transformational mRNA technology discoveries at Penn which laid a foundation for the first COVID-19 vaccines are a tremendous point of pride which further buoys our confidence in the science that is now being deployed to save lives across the globe.”
At the moment, it is not clear if UPHS’s new vaccination policy would pass legal muster if challenged; currently, no other local health systems in the United States has mandated that their employees receive a COVID-19 vaccine.