Safe in Our Care: Tidelands Health adopts COVID-19 vaccine requirement for workforce
Tidelands Health will mandate COVID-19 vaccination for all employees, employed providers, volunteers, learners and contractors as part of the health system’s Safe In Our Care commitment to protect patients, team members and the community.
The health system is the second in South Carolina to mandate the vaccine for team members, following the lead of its affiliate, MUSC Health, which implemented the requirement earlier this year.
“The majority of our employee and physician partners, including more than 90 percent of employed physicians, have already received the safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine,” said Gayle Resetar, chief operating officer. “It is our responsibility to our patients and to each other to move to a fully vaccinated workforce.
“For the past 18 months, Tidelands Health has led our region’s COVID-19 response -- from standing up mass testing sites and offering innovative therapies to administering more than 77,500 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and establishing a dedicated treatment program for COVID-19 long-haulers.
“As we have throughout the pandemic, we remain resolute in our commitment to do what is right and needed to protect our community from this dangerous, highly transmissible virus.”
Tidelands Health team members have until Sept. 7 to comply with the vaccine requirement. An attestation and declination process has been established for individuals who cannot receive the vaccine for medical or religious reasons. Individuals who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 may also choose to decline the vaccine.
Team members who are not in compliance with the vaccine requirement by the deadline will be discharged from employment.
Tidelands Health joins a growing number of health systems across the country that have mandated COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment. Mandatory vaccination for health care workers is supported by leading health care organizations, including the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America and the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.
“With more than 336 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered in the United States, it has been clearly demonstrated the vaccine is safe and highly effective at protecting individuals and reducing transmission of this highly contagious virus,” said Dr. Gerald Harmon, vice president of medical affairs at Tidelands Health. “The vaccine is our best defense against the COVID-19 virus.”
For the protection and safety of patients, it’s common for health systems to require team member vaccinations. For example, influenza vaccination has been a condition of employment at Tidelands Health for more than a decade.
The COVID-19 vaccine requirement for team members is part of Tidelands Health’s Safe In Our Care commitment, which launched in April 2020 with enhanced safety protocols at all health system locations.
“Moving to a fully vaccinated workforce is another example of what we’ve seen throughout this pandemic -- health care professionals doing what is right for the community,” Resetar said. “I’m incredibly proud of the more than 2,500 members of Team Tidelands for their steadfast dedication to the well-being of our patients and region.”