UW Health adds to COVID-19 vaccine mandate - will require boosters too

First COVID-19 vaccine is administrated in Madison, WI.
First COVID-19 vaccine is administrated in Madison, WI.(Stephanie Quirk)
Published: Feb. 9, 2022 at 10:47 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 9, 2022 at 6:20 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - UW Health workers will soon be required to have received an extra dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. On Wednesday, the health system announced it would require booster shots for its providers, staff, students, and volunteers starting in early May.

UW Health Chief Quality Officer Dr. Jeffrey Pothof called the new mandate a “prudent, logical step.” UW Health explained the decision hinged on data that show boosters reduce the likelihood of hospitalization and death and evidence that vaccine efficacy drops over time.

In a statement Wednesday, the health system pointed to its current 96 percent vaccination rate and said administrators expect a strong compliance with the new requirement.

“Our staff have been incredibly supportive of vaccination efforts in our system, our community and our state,” he said. “They see first-hand how important it is to get a booster as we deal with the omicron surge.”

The deadline for people to have received the booster dose will be May 2. A spokesperson for UW Health explained there is no time frame limit on how long ago a booster shot was delivered, so long as the worker received it at some point.

“After more than two years of this ever-changing pandemic, we know the importance of getting vaccinated and getting boosted,” Pothof continued.

Anyone who does not meet the new requirement could be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including losing their job, the health system noted. Workers with a documented medical condition preventing them from being vaccinated or a religious conviction, as defined by state law, can ask for an exemption.

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