Empath Health, which includes Suncoast Hospice and Tidewell Hospice, has announced a policy that requires colleagues, volunteers and vendors to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Empath Health provides the Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida region with care and support for those with chronic and advanced illnesses and/or those dealing with grief. All colleagues and volunteers must comply with the vaccination requirement and present proof of full vaccination status (two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) by November 1, 2021. In addition, vendors who interact with clients, colleagues or volunteers must also comply with the policy.
The vaccine policy is an initiative of Empath Health senior leadership in consultation with the organization’s clinical experts and with endorsement from the board of directors.
“The medical evidence tells us that vaccination for COVID-19 is safe and effective. Since protecting our colleagues and patients is always our prime concern, requiring the vaccine for all our colleagues, volunteers, students and vendors is absolutely the right thing to do," says Nevile Sarkari, Tidewell Hospice's chief medical officer. "I have no doubt that these actions will help save many people from illness and death and will help the overall health of the communities that we serve every day.”
Empath Health will consider individual exemptions to the vaccine requirement on a case-by-case basis relating to religious beliefs or medical concerns. Colleagues and volunteers granted exceptions may be subject to additional masking requirements and ongoing Covid-19 testing.