DANVILLE, Pa. — After 18 months of working through the pandemic, Geisinger Health System is now requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated by October 15th.
There are some exemptions in place for those who have approved medical or religious reasons.
Geisinger said it came to this decision as COVID cases are on the rise, and employees are dealing with more hospitalizations and deaths among patients.
Dale Linn is a patient at Geisinger.
He said his sister died from COVID-19 after she refused to get the shot.
"I kind of think it's a good idea because I had cancer so, I felt like I didn't want to take chance, so I think it's a good idea," Linn said.
Geisinger said if an employee does not have an approved exemption or continues to choose not to get the shot by mid-October after being educated on the vaccine, they will be fired.
"I feel everybody should have a choice if they are going to be putting a vaccine in their body. I don't feel things should be mandated. Even though, I do believe the vaccine is helping keep the COVID under control," Shirley Badman of Danville said.
"I'd feel more comfortable going to a place where people are vaccinated, and there's less of a risk of spreading the virus," Pat Ryan of Danville said.
Geisinger said currently, about 70% of employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
"If they're working to prevent this, then I hope that employees will jump on the bandwagon and get vaccinated," Ryan said.
Geisinger's CEO Jaewon Ryu said this in a statement, "We understand that some employees who have consciously chosen to not get vaccinated may be disappointed by this decision. We hope they will understand that this is a necessary step to protect the health of our patients and their colleagues."