GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Spectrum Health is going to require the COVID-19 vaccine for all of its employees once the FDA approves it, the West Michigan-based hospital system announced Wednesday.
The policy will require all team members, medical staff, students, volunteers and contractors get the vaccine, it said in a release. Spectrum health has 31,000 team members.
The shots will be required within eight weeks of the FDA granting full approval to one of the COVID-19 vaccines, it said. It may act more quickly if it sees a heightened risk to public and employee health as a result of COVID-19 variants.
“We continue to see the benefits of the vaccine – both among our patients and teams. Almost all people who contract COVID-19 and need hospitalization or die from the virus are unvaccinated,” Liam Sullivan, DO, infectious disease specialist with Spectrum Health said in the release. “The delta variant of COVID-19 is causing significant increases in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations in areas across the country where vaccination rates are low. We encourage people to be vaccinated, in consultation with their physician’s advice.”
It will consider exemptions as it is required by law, it said.
Spectrum is the largest hospital system and largest employer in West Michigan.
Two other systems with hospitals in the region — Trinity Health, which owns Mercy Health, and Ascension, which runs Borgess Healthcare — also announced they are requiring their workers to be vaccinated.
Across the state of Michigan, about 63% of all residents age 16 and up have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The state is aiming for 70%. In an effort to reach that goal, state health officials have partnered with Meijer to host a sweepstakes giving away some $5 million in cash prizes and scholarships to those who get at least one dose.