Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest integrated, nonprofit health care organization, announced it will make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for all its employees and physicians. This is another step in the organization’s ongoing effort to protect the health and safety of its workforce, members, patients, and communities.
“As the country’s largest integrated care delivery system, we feel it is our responsibility to do everything we can to help bring an end to the pandemic, especially in light of the dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases from the highly infectious Delta variant,” said Greg A. Adams, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan, Inc. “Large groups of unvaccinated people are fueling the current increase in cases and 97-99 percent of COVID-19 hospital admissions are unvaccinated patients. Making vaccination mandatory is the most effective way we can protect our people, our patients and the communities we serve. We encourage all health systems and business and industry leaders across the country to play a role in ending the pandemic by doing the same.”
As of July 31, 77.8 percent of Kaiser Permanente employees and more than 95 percent of Permanente Medical Group physicians have been fully vaccinated and the organization has set a target date of Sept. 30, 2021 to achieve a fully vaccinated workforce. Unvaccinated employees and physicians will be required to become fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or apply for medical or religious exemption. Employees will be provided additional education on the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine and will receive paid administrative time to get vaccinated at Kaiser Permanente’s on-site vaccination clinics or at other locations. The organization is working with its labor unions on implementation of the employee vaccination mandate and will also coordinate with local, state and federal laws.
The Kaiser Permanente organization includes more than 216,000 employees and more than 23,000 Permanente Medical Group physicians.
“For 16 months, we have been doing everything we can to save lives, care for COVID-19 patients, and prevent our communities from contracting this deadly virus,” said Ramin Davidoff, MD, Co-CEO of the Permanente Federation. “The COVID-19 vaccines offer us the path to move beyond the pandemic in the same way vaccination has brought an end to the epidemics of smallpox, polio, measles and other deadly diseases.”
“We must take action to stop this pandemic and get vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccines are scientifically proven to be safe and effective, dramatically reducing the risk of death and serious health outcomes if a person becomes infected. With Kaiser Permanente’s mandatory vaccination policy, we ensure that we are doing all we can to protect ourselves, each other, and those we serve from this deadly virus,” added Richard Isaacs, MD, FACS, Co-CEO of the Permanente Federation.
As of July 30, Kaiser Permanente has cared for more than 907,418 patients with COVID-19 and has safely administered over 6.8 million vaccine doses with over 68 percent of Kaiser Permanente members receiving at least one dose.
Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services Kaiser currently serves 12.5 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia.