In keeping with Dignity Health's mission of improving the health of those it serves and especially those who are vulnerable, and our commitment to providing safe care for patients and a safe work environment for clinicians and staff, Arroyo Grande Community Hospital is requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by November 1, 2021. This requirement also includes all physicians, Advanced Practice Providers, volunteers, and others caring for patients within our facility.
As health care providers we have a responsibility to help end this pandemic and protect our patients, our colleagues, and those in our communities. Requiring vaccination for our teams is critical to maintaining a safe care environment. Medical and religious exemptions will be available for those who qualify.
Throughout the pandemic, Dignity Health has implemented a broad range of safety measures to be able to continue providing essential health care services to everyone in our communities, including those battling life-threatening COVID-19 infections. Unfortunately, COVID-19 cases are on the rise again due to the threat of variants, and many communities continue to have low vaccination rates. Our decision to require the COVID-19 vaccination for our teams is rooted in a commitment to keeping our community safe -- and bringing an end to this pandemic as quickly as possible.
By requiring the COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment, just as we do with the flu (influenza) vaccine, Dignity Health joins health systems and associations across the country in supporting vaccination for health care workers in an effort to continue protecting our patients, staff, and communities from this dangerous disease.