99.96% of UW Health employees following COVID vaccine policy

MADISON, Wis. — Virtually all of the more than 16,000 people employed by UW Health are following the health care provider’s COVID vaccine requirement, officials announced Monday.

UW Health first announced it was requiring all employees to get the COVID vaccine as an expansion of its existing flu shot requirement in early August. The policy set a deadline of October 1 for employees to get the first dose of the vaccine, and get their second dose by November 1. At the time of the announcement, more than 90% of UW Health employees covered by the policy were already vaccinated.

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In an update Monday, UW Health says 99.96% of the 16,185 people covered by the policy ended up being compliant with the requirement, meaning their either got their first dose or got a medical or religious waiver approved. Officials say about 96% of employees were vaccinated, while just under 4% had their waivers approved. All physicians and providers in the UW Health system are also considered to be compliant, either by vaccination or approved waiver.

“We are so proud of how our entire UW Health team has stepped up during this long pandemic,” UW Health Chief Quality Officer Jeff Pothof said. “They not only care for our patients, but they care about our community and live those values every day.”

UW Health says the small number of employees who are not yet vaccinated and did not have waivers approved have until October 11 to get vaccinated or face termination. Officials say they expect fewer than 10 employees across the entire system to possibly be fired for not following the requirement.