Children’s Mercy will require all workers get COVID-19 vaccine, including at JoCo campuses

Children's Mercy Hospital announced last week that all employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 15. Currently, the hospital's staff is around 80% vaccinated, according to hospital officials. Children's Mercy joins a handful of other hospitals in Kansas and Missouri that are requiring their staff be vaccinated, including the University of Kansas Health System. Image via Children's Mercy Hospital.

Children’s Mercy Hospital has joined several other Kansas City-area health systems in requiring all its employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The hospital announced last week that, beginning Dec. 15, all employees, including clinical and non-clinical staff, contract and remote workers, students, non-employed residents, fellows, interns and volunteers will need to be fully vaccinated at any of the hospital’s locations, according to a release.

“First and foremost, as a preeminent academic children’s health system, we are obligated to do everything we can to improve the health and safety of our patients, many of whom are unvaccinated due to their age, and of our employees,” Paul Kempinski, the hospital’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “Our community looks to us to be a role model, advocate for and promote pediatric health, and the best way to protect children is for all eligible people to be vaccinated.”

The vaccination rule will apply to all Children’s Mercy locations, including its Overland Park campuses on College Boulevard and nearby at 110th Street. 

Other regional hospitals require vaccination

Children’s Mercy is not the first local health system to require COVID-19 vaccination for its staff.

The University of Kansas Health System, Truman Medical Centers, Saint Luke’s Health System and North Kansas City Hospital have all issued similar mandates in recent weeks.

Children’s Mercy employees will be required to receive either the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot before Dec. 15.

The FDA granted full approval for the Pfizer vaccine on Aug. 23.

The Children’s Mercy statement said the FDA’s choice to give full approval was part of its reason behind now requiring staff get vaccinated.

The Moderna vaccine and the J&J one-shot vaccine have yet to receive full authorization.

Currently, about 80% of Children’s Mercy staff have been fully vaccinated, but, Kempinski says, Children’s Mercy can do better.

“By committing to this policy, we are doing our part – honoring our obligation – to keep our patients, employees and community safe, and to halt the pandemic’s devastating impact,” Kempinski said.

Staff may obtain a medical or religious exemption from the mandate, which will need to be approved by Children’s Mercy by the Dec. 15 deadline.