By Jennifer McRae

(CBS4)– Kaiser Permanente is mandating that all employees and physicians get the COVID-19 vaccine. The organization has set a target date of Sept. 30 for the entire workforce to be fully vaccinated.

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“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” said Greg A. Adams, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan, Inc. in a statement. “Large groups of unvaccinated people are fueling the current increase in cases and 97-99% of COVID-19 hospital admissions are unvaccinated patients. Making vaccination mandatory is the most effective way we can protect our people, our patients and the communities we serve. We encourage all health systems and business and industry leaders across the country to play a role in ending the pandemic by doing the same.”

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Unvaccinated employees and physicians will be required to be fully vaccinated or apply for medical or religious exemption.

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As of July 31, 77.8% of Kaiser Permanente employees and more than 95% of Permanente Medical Group physicians have been fully vaccinated.

“For 16 months, we have been doing everything we can to save lives, care for COVID-19 patients, and prevent our communities from contracting this deadly virus,” said Ramin Davidoff, MD, Co-CEO of the Permanente Federation in a statement. “The COVID-19 vaccines offer us the path to move beyond the pandemic in the same way vaccination has brought an end to the epidemics of smallpox, polio, measles and other deadly diseases.”

Jennifer McRae