SSM Health to require COVID-19 vaccination for all employees by late September

MADISON, Wis. — SSM Health announced Monday plans to require all of its employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by late September, citing the continued spread of more contagious variants of the disease.

Nearly 40,000 people work for the health care provider across its four-state service area. To date, 77% of SSM Health employees in Wisconsin have been vaccinated.

“These vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective at providing long-lasting immunity to COVID-19,” said Matt Hanley, MD, SSM Health Wisconsin Interim Regional President. “However, we haven’t yet reached a level of vaccination that provides herd immunity, which is why we’re continuing to see dangerous surges in many communities.”

Dr. Hanley said requiring the vaccine is a way for the provider to lead by example as vaccination rates taper out nationwide.

Since vaccination efforts began in December 2020, SSM Health has administered more than 263,000 doses throughout the state. Dr. Hanley said those who have yet to get vaccinated should do so to help keep themselves and their community safe.

“As health care providers, we’ve seen the devastating impact of this disease first-hand,” said Dr. Hanley. “The fight against COVID-19 is not yet over. We must continue to be vigilant in doing everything we can to protect our team members, patients and communities.”

SSM Health employees can request an exemption for medical or religious reasons, which a spokesperson said is in line with the provider’s practice for other required vaccines.