Children’s Wisconsin, Medical College of Wisconsin mandate COVID-19 vaccine for all employees

Last updated on August 2nd, 2021 at 02:01 pm

Children’s Wisconsin and the Medical College of Wisconsin are the latest Milwaukee-area health care organizations to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees.

Glendale-based Ascension Wisconsin was the first this week to announce it would require the vaccine for its employees; Waukesha-based ProHealth Care followed that announcement with its own on Thursday.

The mandates come in response to recent spikes in new COVID-19 cases and the emergence of new variants. Milwaukee County reported on Thursday 971 new cases for the most recent 7-day period, a nearly 11-fold increase from three weeks earlier.

Children’s said employees have until Nov. 15 to be fully vaccinated. The mandate applies to all staff, whether they provide direct patient care or not and whether they work in a Children’s facility or remotely.

“Almost all Children’s Wisconsin doctors have been vaccinated for COVID-19, demonstrating the confidence some of the world’s best doctors have in the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. We are thankful for their example and will continue to lean into their expertise and leadership as we engage with team members who are not yet vaccinated,” said Dr. Mike Gutzeit, chief medical officer at Children’s Wisconsin. “The best protection for our children from the physical, mental and emotional impacts of COVID-19 is the timely vaccination of the community surrounding them. The mission of Children’s Wisconsin drives us to do everything in our power to protect the health and well-being of kids. The vaccine is safe, effective and continues to be the most powerful tool against COVID-19.”

MCW said all employees and students need to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1.

“There is overwhelming scientific evidence that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. As an academic medical center, it is incumbent upon us as health care providers and health science professionals to demonstrate our commitment to, and leadership for, public health and the health of our patients and communities,” said Dr. John Raymond, president and CEO of MCW. “We also believe that health care organizations, especially academic medical centers, need to lead the way by setting an example of best public health practices, and social responsibility for our stakeholders, vulnerable communities, and our region.”

Both organizations said there is an exemption process in place for medial and religious reasons.

A spokesman with Wauwatosa-based Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network said Wednesday that the health system is in the “final stages” of considering a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for its employees.

Milwaukee- and Downers Grove, Illinois-based Advocate Aurora Health is also evaluating a possible mandate for its employees.

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Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits and education for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism. In her free time, Lauren enjoys hiking, kayaking, and seeing live music.

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