KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Like many care providers have already done, Ascension health care systems will be requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Ascension, which has hospitals in the West Michigan area including Borgess Healthcare in Kalamazoo, made the announcement Tuesday.

The company has set a deadline of Nov. 12 for all its employees to get vaccinated, whether they work directly with patients or not. The policy also includes employees who work remotely.

Similar to influenza vaccine requirements, there will be exceptions, like for medical or religious reasons. Exceptions will require a requesting process.

The organization said it made the decision after conducting “a moral and ethical analysis.”

“This decision is rooted in our Mission commitment to leading with quality and safety. As a healthcare provider and as a Catholic ministry, ensuring we have a culture of safety for our associates, patients and communities is foundational to our work,” Ascension said in a statement.

Ascension operates four hospitals in our area:

  • Ascension Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo
  • Ascension Borgess Allegan Hospital
  • Ascension Borgess-Pipp Hospital in Plainwell
  • Ascension Borgess-Lee Hospital in Dowagiac.

So far tens of thousands of employees have already been vaccinated, Ascension said.