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Prevea, Advocate Aurora Health to require COVID-19 vaccinations for employees

Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 11:40 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 4, 2021 at 6:07 PM CDT
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MILWAUKEE (WBAY) - Prevea Health has announced it will require all staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by early October.

Prevea joins Advocate Aurora Health in the requirement. Advocate Aurora announced earlier on Wednesday that it will require employees to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by Oct. 15. This applies to 75,000 employees in Advocate Aurora’s system in Illinois and Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, officials at Prevea announced Wednesday afternoon that all of their staff must be fully vaccinated, or complete an exemption process by October 5.

Prevea has more than 100 locations across Wisconsin across Wisconsin, and employs more than 2,000 people.

In addition to the vaccine requirement, Prevea has a face mask requirement for everyone who is at least 2 years old at all of their health centers across the state.

Advocate Aurora’s decision comes as other health care providers and organizations implement similar vaccination requirements for staff and amid the spread of the highly-contagious Delta variant.

Advocate Aurora says inpatient COVID-19 hospitalizations have “increased five-fold” over the past three weeks. They’re experiencing positive case numbers not seen since January.

“We are first and foremost a safe, clinical enterprise. Our ultimate duty is to protect the health and safety of our team members, patients and communities,” President and CEO Jim Skogsbergh told team members Wednesday in a video. “The data is overwhelming. This vaccine is safe, and it’s highly effective in preventing infection and even more so, serious illness and death.”

There will be limited exceptions for specific religious or medical reasons.

As of August 4, in a statement to Action 2 News, it was shared that “HSHS hospitals in Wisconsin do not require employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19, but continue to highly encourage it and are evaluating the option.” That includes both St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center and St. Vincent Hospital Home Health.

We also reached out to Bellin Health who is not requiring their employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. “We are focusing a lot of energy on helping our team members understand the importance of the vaccine and encouraging them to make the important choice to get the vaccine,” Bellin Health President and CEO, Chris Woleske, said. “At the same time, we are evaluating a mandate in light of the increasing spread of the virus and the important role we play as healthcare providers in stopping the spread and caring for our communities.”

UW Health announced Wednesday that it would require staff to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

“As we experience more and more of this pandemic it’s becoming more and more clear that the way we get out of this pandemic is through vaccination,” Dr. Jeff Pothof, UW chief quality officer, emphasized. “It’s becoming more and more clear that the actions of the unvaccinated actually effect the lives of the vaccinated and everyone else.”

Pothof shared that 90% of UW Health’s staff is already vaccinated. However, the rise of the Delta variant changed opinions about a mandate.

“Our patients expect us to keep them safe when they are in our building,” Pothof said. “They don’t expect us to keep them safe 90% of the time, they expect us to keep them safe 100% of the time.”

UW Health says staff could face disciplinary measures like unpaid leave or possible termination if they miss the deadline of October 1 to have their first dose of the vaccine and November 1 if a second dose is required.

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