Tower Health announced today that it will require COVID-19 vaccination for all Tower Health employees when the FDA gives the vaccine full approval—a milestone anticipated within the coming weeks.
“We will take this step because it is the right thing to do, it is consistent with our mission to provide high-quality care, and it is vital to our obligation to keep our patients and colleagues safe,” said Sue Perrotty, Tower Health President and CEO, in a memo to staff announcing the policy.
Requiring vaccination of healthcare workers is endorsed by the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Hospital Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology, and many other groups representing caregivers across the United States. Mandatory vaccination has also been endorsed or implemented by multiple businesses, unions, and government agencies. Last week, the City of Philadelphia mandated that healthcare workers in the City be vaccinated by October 15.
Tower Health will not implement this policy until the FDA formally approves the vaccine and will spend the next weeks determining details and developing policies around the vaccine requirement. Tower Health must also plan to comply with the City of Philadelphia’s vaccine mandate that will impact employees at Chestnut Hill Hospital and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children.
When this Tower Health policy takes effect, vaccination for COVID-19 will be a condition of employment for current employees, new hires, and contract staff. For those employees covered under collective bargaining, the requirement will be subject to discussions between management and the applicable union representatives.
The COVID-19 Delta variant is now the dominant strain in our country. It is spreading rapidly among unvaccinated people in virtually every community in our nation, including ours. New infections among unvaccinated persons nationally and in our area are trending in the wrong direction. In fact, 97 percent of COVID-19 infections are now occurring in people who are unvaccinated. Unfortunately, that includes an increase of infections among children.
“Tower Health has been a leader in fighting COVID-19 in our region for more than 18 months,” Ms. Perrotty said. “Throughout every phase of this pandemic, our team has continued to show up for our patients and each other, and I cannot thank them enough for that. This next step in the ongoing fight to end the pandemic is fundamental to our mission to provide high-quality healthcare to our community."
About Tower Health
Tower Health is a strong, regional, integrated healthcare provider/payer system that offers leading-edge, compassionate healthcare and wellness services to a population of 2.5 million people. With approximately 14,000 team members, Tower Health consists of Reading Hospital in West Reading; Phoenixville Hospital in Phoenixville; Pottstown Hospital in Pottstown; and St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, a partnership of Tower Health and Drexel University in Philadelphia. It also includes Reading Hospital Rehabilitation at Wyomissing; Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences in West Reading; home healthcare services provided by Tower Health at Home; and a network of 25 urgent care facilities across the Tower Health service area. Tower Health offers a connected network of 2,200 physicians, specialists, and providers across more than 230 convenient locations. For more information, visit towerhealth.org.