ORLANDO, Fla. – AdventHealth is setting deadlines for employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or risk suspension, according to a letter sent to employees Tuesday, obtained by News 6.
In the letter, AdventHealth President and CEO Terry Shaw says the deadlines are part of plans to comply with the federal vaccine mandate, which is required because the health care company participates in Medicare and Medicaid programs.
According to the letter, employees have until Monday, Dec. 6 to get their first shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or a single shot of Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The company then set a due date of Tuesday, Jan. 4 for the second dose of the two-shot vaccines.
Employees can also apply for an exemption, and the deadline for that is Wednesday, Dec. 1. AdventHealth allows exemptions for medical or religious reasons, and they must be approved by the company.
In the letter, AdventHealth says anyone who has not gotten an approved exemption or a first vaccine dose by Dec. 6 will face suspension.
According to the letter, more than 74% of AdventHealth employees have gotten vaccinated. Shaw says, given the heavy toll the pandemic has taken, that protecting the AdventHealth team is his highest priority.
“I want to thank those of you who have made the decision to become vaccinated,” Shaw said. “Between now and Dec. 6, it is my hope that those of you who have not made the decision to either get vaccinated or obtain an approved exemption do so, and that we may continue to service united in our mission.”
Shaw’s letter also mentions pending lawsuits in federal court that are challenging the vaccine mandate. He says that even if the mandate is delayed in court, they will continue to process exemption requests.
The Florida Legislature is currently in a special session to fight the vaccine and other COVID-19-related mandates.
The federal government has set a Jan. 4 deadline for companies to comply with the vaccine mandate.
The following statement was released from AdventHealth:
“Based on scientific evidence and what we see in our hospitals every day, COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at reducing both the risk of becoming infected and spreading the infection to others. As part of our commitment to protecting the health and well-being of our team members, patients and communities, we strongly encourage all of our team members to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Our intent is to comply with the federal mandate, and we are closely monitoring legal challenges that may impact our compliance.”