SPOKANE — Pullman Regional Hospital is requiring its employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Employees will have until Oct. 27 to be fully vaccinated or complete the exemption process.
Employees can file for an exemption that is medical or for a sincerely held religious or personal belief.
So far, 75% of the 500 employees at Pullman Regional have been vaccinated.
The critical access hospital is following in the footsteps of other health care organizations.
This week, the Department of Veterans Affairs said it will require health care personnel to get vaccinated against the virus.
At Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center, the facility is following guidance to implement the mandate, and so far, 77% of employees there are vaccinated .
“The vaccine is the most valuable technology for fighting the pandemic. By full vaccination of employees, our organization has an opportunity to set an example and facilitate the healthiest quality of life for our community,” a statement from Pullman Regional says. “We agree with public health experts and virologists in that the vaccine is both very safe and extremely effective.”
The vaccine requirement at Pullman Regional applies to hospital and clinic staff, as well as volunteers and students working at the hospital.
The personal exemption will expire on June 1, 2022 or within two months of a vaccine receiving full approval from the Food and Drug Administration.
The hospital’s vaccine mandate will also apply to a booster dose or shot, should the use of one become necessary and be approved by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
Hospitals around the country have begun to implement vaccine requirements, and both national and state-level organizations support the move.
The Washington State Hospital Association is supportive of these efforts to keep patients and staff safe especially with the increase in COVID cases and the delta variant, Beth Zborowski with the association said in a statement.
More hospitals are considering vaccine requirements, and on Wednesday Gov. Jay Inslee said his office will be considering vaccine requirements in the coming weeks.
“We don’t want hospital workers infecting their patients,” he told reporters Wednesday.
Inslee is also considering requiring state employees to get vaccinated.