The University of Pennsylvania Health System will require all employees and clinical staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to September 1.
The decision, which was announced last Thursday, makes UPHS one of the first health systems in the country to require all of its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, Penn Medicine News reported. Employees who are unable to receive the vaccine for medical or religious reasons must apply for an exemption.
Nearly 70 percent of UPHS employees are currently fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Penn Medicine News reported. The remaining 11,000 employees must have two doses of a two-dose vaccine or one dose of a single-dose vaccine at least two weeks before September 1.
Beginning July 1, all newly hired UPHS employees will also be required to provide proof of vaccination or complete their vaccination series two weeks prior to starting work.
UPHS will continue to administer vaccines, and employees may also receive them off-site and provide documentation, Penn Medicine News reported.
UPHS’s announcement comes approximately one month after Penn announced that it will require all full-time undergraduate, graduate, and professional students living in the Philadelphia area to receive the COVID-19 vaccine before returning to campus for the fall semester.
Exceptions to Penn’s vaccination requirement will only be provided for medical and religious reasons, according to an email from Penn President Amy Gutmann, Provost Wendell Pritchett, and Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli to the Penn community on April 22.
“As an institution grounded in the science and art of healthcare, we believe it is imperative for Penn Medicine to take the lead in requiring employee vaccinations to protect our patients and staff and to set an example to the broader community as we work together to end the COVID-19 pandemic,” UPHS CEO Kevin B. Mahoney told Penn Medicine News.
The University has not announced whether it will require faculty, postdocs, and staff outside of the health system to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. In an email sent to the Penn community on May 19, University administrators said that Penn is “reviewing” this option and will provide further information later in the summer.