River Falls Area Hospital

The River Falls Area Hospital's remodeled Special Care Unit is shown. Submitted photo 

RIVER FALLS — Allina Health announced in a news release today that the organization will implement a system-wide policy to make the COVID-19 vaccine a condition of employment at Allina Health. 

Allina Health is dedicated to preventing illness and caring for the communities it serves, according to the release. The timing of this decision is informed by the growing concern of clinicians and patients about the rapid rise of COVID-19 cases being driven by highly transmissible variants. As health care providers, Allina said it feels strongly that it plays a unique role in demonstrating leadership to the community on important public health matters.

More contagious variants of the virus continue to spread and case counts and hospitalizations are increasing. Vaccination against the virus is the best path to end the pandemic, the release said. It is urgent that Allina does everything it can to protect its patients, staff and communities and reduce further strain on the health care system, according to the release. 

“The entire Allina Health team has been exceptional in rising to the challenges over the past year and a half,” said Dr. John Misa,  vice president and clinical officer of Allina Health. “Ensuring that our employees are vaccinated not only sends an important signal to the community that we embrace safety, but that we continue to take every possible step to bring about the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Allina Health will begin requiring COVID-19 vaccination by Oct, 1 2021, for all employees, volunteers, students and contracted staff, with limited exemptions for medical or religious reasons. By that date, employees will need to receive at least one vaccine dose. Currently, more than 73% of Allina Health employees have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

As part of its Commitment to Care, Allina Health has continued requiring masks in all its facilities and recently announced a required influenza vaccine policy as added safety measures for its patients and staff. By January 1, 2022, to coincide with the 2021-2022 influenza season, all employees, volunteers, students and contracted staff must receive the influenza vaccination, with limited exemptions. 

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