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Avera Health to require employees to receive COVID-19 vaccine

Avera Health Dr. Jawad Nazir receives Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
Avera Health Dr. Jawad Nazir receives Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.(Avera Health)
Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 1:37 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Avera Health announced Tuesday that it will require full vaccination for its physicians, employees and volunteers by Dec. 1, 2021.

“As a health care ministry, Avera is called upon to provide a safe and protective environment for our patients, their families and our employees. This is consistent with our mission and values,” said David Erickson, MD, Chief Medical and Innovation Officer at Avera Health.

Avera Health will consider exemptions for employees with medical contraindications and sincerely held religious beliefs. Employees who receive an exemption will be required to wear appropriate personal protective equipment and comply with regular COVID-19 testing and other preventive measures.

Avera says a majority of its employees are already vaccinated. In an all-employee survey, a majority of employees voiced support for a vaccination requirement, according to Avera.

Kim Jensen, Chief Human Resources Officer at Avera Health, says the new policy is consistent with other current policies.

“We already require annual vaccination against flu and we require a record of immunizations for new hires,” says Jensen.

This policy also applies to students rotating in Avera facilities, contracted workers, and vendors.

Sioux Falls’ other health partner, Sanford Health, announced in July it is requiring its employees to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by Nov. 1

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