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M Health Fairview, Allina Health: Employees, providers must get COVID-19 vaccine

Fairview said the vaccine is a "condition of continued employment with Fairview." Employees have until Oct. 31 to get vaccinated.

MINNEAPOLIS — M Health Fairview will require all employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, the health care company announced Monday. 

Fairview said both flu and COVID-19 vaccinations will be required for all employees and providers across the M Health Fairview system. Its employees must be vaccinated by Oct. 31. 

Fairview said both vaccinations are a "condition of continued employment with Fairview." A medical and religious accommodation process is in the works. 

"We take our obligation to care for our patients seriously," reads a letter the company sent to employees. "To that end, we will require all providers, employees, students, volunteers, vendors, and contractors to receive both an annual flu vaccination and a COVID-19 vaccination."

Allina Health also announced it will require all employees, volunteers, students and contracted staff to have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 1, with limited exemptions for medical and religious reasons.

Like Fairview, Allina Health will also require all employees to receive a flu vaccine by Jan. 1, 2022.

Allina Health's vice president says it was a simple decision. 

"I consider it to be simple because we know how safe and effective this vaccine is in preventing serious illness and death," said Dr. John Misa. "From a process point of view, from how we talk to our employees that this is a condition of employment, one can consider that more complex, but we don’t lead with that complexity."

Both health systems have at least 73% of its employees already vaccinated. 

At the local nursing facility, Episcopal Homes, the CEO says two employees are expected to resign after it also recently announced vaccines will be mandatory for staff by September 1. Marvin Plakut says misinformation is contributing to just a 60% vaccination rate among long-term care staffers across the state.

"There are about 10 to 15 reasons staff give as to why they’re hesitant to receive the vaccine," explained Plakut. "So it’s not that there’s one reason we can get our arms around and have some kind of mass communication; it doesn’t work that way."

A growing number of businesses are putting pressure on employees to get vaccinated, including giants like the Walt Disney Co. and Google.

MORE: US employers ratchet up the pressure on the unvaccinated

Many other organizations are sticking with incentives as they encourage people to get the shot. The University of Wisconsin recently announced scholarships for vaccinated students, and Gov. Tim Walz announced a $100 incentive for new vaccinations. 

Earlier Monday, the University of Minnesota announced that masks would be required indoors across its campuses. Later, Minneapolis-based Target said employees will need to wear masks in areas with substantial or high levels of COVID-19 spread. 

   

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