AKRON, Ohio — Akron Children's Hospital has confirmed to 3News plans to require its employees to be fully vaccinated for the coronavirus, or be subjected to mandatory COVID-19 testing.
In an email to employees from President and CEO Grace Wakulchik, which was shared with 3News, the hospital cited the latest surge in COVID-19 cases, "with the Delta variant causing widespread infection, and a troubling uptick pediatric cases."
"We must do everything we can to protect ourselves, our coworkers and the vulnerable children we have promised to serve, most of whom are not yet eligible for vaccination," Wakulchik wrote.
All employees and new hires will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine, or accept at minimum, weekly COVID-19 testing. The effective date of the new policy has not yet been finalized, as the hospital is working out the details of testing plan.
In a statement to 3News, the hospital said:
“Akron Children’s Hospital has announced to employees that the COVID-19 vaccine or regular mandatory testing will become a requirement of employment. The effective date will likely be in the next few weeks as testing details are finalized,” said Grace Wakulchik, president and chief executive officer. “The COVID-19 vaccines have been proven safe and effective in protecting users from serious illness. Vaccination is the most important tool we have in fighting the coronavirus pandemic and we have an essential role as a pediatric hospital to do everything we can to keep the children in our care safe. The new employee vaccine requirement is another step in the safeguards we have implemented since the start of the pandemic, including screening at hospital entrances, requiring masks, and stressing proper distancing and proper hand hygiene.”
Akron Children's joins Summa Health Systems in requiring its employees to be fully vaccinated for the coronavirus. Earlier this month, Summa became the first Northeast Ohio hospital to mandate vaccinations, announcing that employees must be fully vaccinated by October 31, or face discipline up to termination of employment. The policy does allow for medical or religious exemptions.