HONOLULU – The Queen’s Health System (Queen’s) reports that more than 7,700 of its employees across the state, or 92% of its workforce, are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as an organization-wide policy mandating staff vaccination took effect today.
Queen’s currently employs more than 8,300 people. In addition to the fully-vaccinated group, about 70 employees have begun the process of vaccination, having received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. That means 93% of Queen’s workforce is either fully or partially vaccinated.
“As a leading health care provider in the state of Hawai‘i, Queen’s is committed to protecting the health and safety of our patients, staff and visitors. One of the best ways to achieve this is to ensure that our caregivers are vaccinated. We are pleased that so many of our Queen’s ‘ohana have taken this important step to protect themselves from this devastating disease,” said Jason Chang, Chief Operating Officer at The Queen’s Health System.
Under Queen’s new policy, all staff and affiliated providers are required to be fully vaccinated with an FDA-approved or FDA-emergency-use-authorized COVID vaccine by October 1, 2021. The policy provides exemptions and lays out the consequences for non-compliance.
All unvaccinated health care personnel who have requested an exemption will be required to undergo routine COVID surveillance testing on a weekly basis in order to be cleared for work. About 500 employees have submitted an exemption request. Queen’s will pay for the mandatory testing initially and will continue to reevaluate that process.
Any unvaccinated staff member who fails to comply with weekly testing procedures will be suspended without pay. Continued non-compliance will result in progressive disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.
“This is about keeping our patients and staff colleagues safe. Required vaccinations among health care providers is a best practice supported by the American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, American Hospital Association, American College of Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, and other health care organizations. While the COVID vaccine does not provide 100% protection against infection, it markedly reduces the infection rate compared to those who are unvaccinated and reduces the severity of illness in the event a vaccinated individual contracts the virus,” said Todd Allen, MD, Senior Vice President and Chief Quality Officer at The Queen’s Health System.