St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will require employees without an exemption to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by September 24, or else they will be fired. The hospital offers employees to receive their vaccination without penalty until September 9. If an employee isn’t fully vaccinated by then, they will be placed on unpaid administrative leave until they either start or finish their vaccination process. Medical or religious exemptions are offered.
Dr. James Downing, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital President and CEO, issued the email. He stated that hundreds of millions of people around the world have received the COVID-19 vaccine safely.
“The benefits far outweigh the risks of not getting vaccinated. COVID-19 can cause serious illness and death even in young, healthy people. Many individuals have long-lasting symptoms after infection,” claimed Downing.
According to CDC data, the risk of infection, hospitalization, and death is minimal for anyone under 29 compared to individuals aged 30 or above.
Downing cited the Delta variant and other mutations of the original COVID-19 strain as the reason for requiring staff vaccinations.
For any employees hesitant to receive the vaccine, Downing offered to refer them to their team of researchers and clinicians for assurance. He also included a link to the employee-only portal for further information on the vaccine, as well as an email for additional questions.
In closing, Downing asked the employees not to share the email with anyone outside of the hospital.
Nowhere in the email did Downing address how the hospital would respond to employees who experience adverse or potentially life-threatening reactions to the vaccine.
The Tennessee Star inquired with the hospital about their protocols for employees who experience the reportedly rare cases of heart inflammation or other adverse reactions that may become fatal. In response to our questions, hospital spokespersons shared Downing’s email to employees and the following statement with The Star:
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and ALSAC announced all St. Jude and Memphis-area ALSAC employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Thursday, September 9, 2021.
As our mission states and as our St. Jude core values echo, we must ensure that advancing treatment for children with catastrophic diseases is at the center of everything we do. This means providing our patients and their families with the safest treatment environment possible.
We reached this decision after much research, analysis and discussion. It is the right thing to keep our campus safe. Our duty to our patients frames everything we do. This is the logical next step to ensure we stay one step ahead of the virus[.]
We join other hospitals and institutions nationwide that are requiring vaccination to effectively fight COVID-19.
ALSAC and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital share a campus and are jointly implementing this policy for the safety and well-being of our patient families and staff.
– – –