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Marshall Health, School of Medicine will require COVID-19 vaccine for employees, students

Coronavirus in West Virginia

In this March 2021 photo provided by Pfizer, vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are prepared for packaging at the company’s facility in Puurs, Belgium. Pfizer is about to seek U.S. authorization for a third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine, saying Thursday, July 8, 2021, that another shot within 12 months could dramatically boost immunity and maybe help ward off the latest worrisome coronavirus mutant. (Pfizer via AP)

HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK)—According to Marshall Health’s website, Marshall Health and the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine will require COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees and students. Staff and students will need to be vaccinated by October 31, 2021.

The decision comes after the FDA fully approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in late August and after the West Virginia Hospital Association announced its support of hospital and health systems requiring employees to be vaccinated.

“This pandemic is not over, and as a leading health care organization in the area, we must continue doing everything we can to protect our patients, employees, students and community,’ said Joseph E. Evans, M.D., chief medical officer for Marshall Health and vice dean of clinical affairs for the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. “The science and data support vaccination as the most effective way to protect ourselves and each other and prevent further community spread.” Prior to the FDA’s full approval of the Pfizer vaccine, approximately 80 percent of employees and students at Marshall Health and the School of Medicine were fully vaccinated under the emergency use authorization.

Those who are not fully vaccinated or approved for a medical or religious exemption will be required to complete at least one asymptomatic test per week.

Masking and PPE requirements will also remain in place in all academic, clinical and administrative facilities.

“As our experience with COVID-19 continues, the means by which we live our lives will continue to evolve,” said Kara S. Willenburg, M.D., chief of infectious diseases at Marshall Health and professor of medicine at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. “Vaccination and masking are the most effective ways to prevent further spread and mutation of a disease that has already taken far too many lives.”  

The organizations’ primary teaching hospitals, Cabell Huntington Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center, members of Mountain Health Network, also announced similar employee vaccination requirements on Tuesday.

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