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Two major Washington health care providers will require vaccinations for employees

Personnel eat in the cafeteria at Harborview Medical Center on Nov. 26, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

As cases of COVID-19 start to rise again and the delta variant is spreading across Washington, two major health care providers in Western Washington plan to make vaccinations mandatory for all employees.

State hospital leaders sound off as delta variant, and frustration, spreads

Kaiser Permanente is one of the two providers, announcing this week that COVID-19 vaccines will be mandatory for all its employees and physicians.

Chair and CEO Greg Adams released a statement, saying in part: “As the country’s largest integrated care delivery system, we feel it is our responsibility to do everything we can to help bring an end to the pandemic, especially in light of the dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases from the highly infectious delta variant.”

As of July 31, almost 79% of Kaiser Permanente employees nationwide have been fully vaccinated, and more than 95% of physicians.

MultiCare, which has a hospital in Tacoma, is also making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for all its health care workers.

Both MultiCare and Kaiser Permanente are hoping to vaccinate every employee by fall.

Previously, Washington State Medical Association President Dr. Nathan Schlicher said the group would support the move to mandatory vaccinations for all health care workers, should the governor decide to give the order statewide.

Medical leaders in Washington support mandatory vaccinations for health care workers

“If you’re in direct patient care, caring for patients that are at risk, your patients deserve to know that you’re doing everything you can to keep them safe and healthy,” he said.

If you’re a health care worker and can’t get on board with vaccinations, Schlicher says: “Being on the front lines of this pandemic is not the place for you.”

The Washington State Hospital Association joined that call this week, as its leaders and members urged hospitals and health care providers to require employees to get vaccinated.

The KIRO Radio Newsdesk contributed to this report.

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