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State's healthcare providers share statements regarding how the employee vaccination effort is going

To understand vaccine-induced immunity more fully, researchers are comparing antibody levels in people who received the Moderna vaccine but still got COVID-19 with levels in people who got the vaccine but didn't fall ill.

SDPB reached out to Sanford, Monument, and Avera Health for an update regarding vaccine requirements for employees in South Dakota health systems.

Avera Health

"Avera continues to work towards the December 1 vaccine requirement for our workforce. The majority of our workforce had chosen to receive the vaccine prior to this requirement being announced. Our initial focus is on education for those employees who remain unvaccinated.

As a health care ministry, Avera is called upon to provide a safe and protective environment for our patients, their families and our employees – and has long been requiring vaccinations for employees for influenza and other infectious diseases like measles. This is consistent with our mission and values."

Sanford Health

"Sanford Health was proud to be one of the first health care providers in the country to announce we would require all employees to get a Covid-19 vaccination to protect our patients, residents and our people. The vaccine mandate has worked: As of today, our health system has a 97% compliance rate. As a result of our high employee vaccination rate, we have also seen a decline in Covid-19 infections and sick leave among staff.

Employees who are not fully vaccinated or have an approved exemption by Nov. 1, will be suspended for up to 60 days without pay and will be removed from the work schedule. Continued failure to comply with the COVID-19 vaccine requirements within 60 days will result in the employee being considered to have voluntarily resigned from their employment."

Monument Health

"In mid-September, Monument Health announced that its physicians and caregivers will be required to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus by Dec. 1, 2021, or receive an exemption due to medical contraindications or sincerely held religious beliefs. At this time, it’s too early to report on the compliance or impact of this requirement."

The South Dakota Department of Health says unvaccinated people make up the vast majority of newly reported deaths and hospitalizations.

They say, "The more the virus that causes COVID-19 circulates in a community, the more opportunities it has to transform into variants that can spread more easily. Help stop the spread and further mutation of the Coronavirus by getting vaccinated."

Find a vaccine: https://vaccines.gov

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