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Sioux Falls Health Systems Require Vaccines; Monument Health Still Considering

Dr. Shankar Kurra
Dr. Shankar Kurra in SDPB's Rapid City Studio.

This story comes from a recent interview on SDPB's weekday radio program, "In the Moment." Listen to the attached audio file for the full interview.

Dr. Shankar Kurra, the vice president of medical affairs at Monument Health in Rapid City, says the healthcare provider is looking into whether or not it will implement a vaccine requirement for its own employees.

Avera, based in Sioux Falls, announced a mandate Tuesday for its employees to be vaccinated by Dec. 1. Another Sioux Falls health system, Sanford Health, already requires its employees to be vaccinated.

Kurra says Monument Health is actively discussing requiring vaccinations for its employees.

“And so those are now weekly and even daily meetings. And we will soon arrive at an appropriate plan and how to implement, and what's the best way going forward.”

He says a limited staff that is already stressed and an even more limited labor pool are playing a role in the decision.

“But as I said, the priority is still how do we protect [the community], and make sure we do the right thing from a healthcare perspective.”

The South Dakota Department of Health's website currently reports over 6,000 active cases of COVID-19 in South Dakota—a disproportionate number of which are in the Black Hills area.