Some of Schuylkill County’s biggest employers have begun requiring their workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Earlier this week, some of the top healthcare providers locally said their employees need to get the vaccine.
Schuylkill County Employers Require Workers to Get COVID Vaccine
St. Luke’s University Health Network, Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network, and Lehigh Valley Health Network will require all employees to get the COVID vaccine in order to work at any of those companies.
St. Luke’s operates a hospital in Coaldale and is partnered with Geisinger in operating a new hospital outside Orwigsburg. Good Shepherd operates a facility in Pottsville. And Lehigh Valley Health Network operates two hospitals in Pottsville.
They operate several medical offices around Schuylkill County, too.
We reached out to St. Luke’s and Geisinger to confirm if this impending policy would affect the hospital outside Orwigsburg but haven’t received a response. Geisinger has not issued any similar mandate for its employees to date.
In a joint statement issued from all three companies, this mandate would extend beyond just its employees.
“These new policies will also apply to everyone who works or conducts business within the health care organizations,” the statement reads.
Vaccine or Test at Pennsylvania Healthcare Facilities and Congregate Settings
This news was followed by an announcement on Tuesday from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.
Although he called the idea of a vaccine passport or mandate essentially the figment of the Republican Party’s imagination, Wolf announced that employees at state-run healthcare facilities and other businesses like high congregate settings – like prisons – would need to get the COVID vaccine or be subject to weekly testing to see if they’re positive.
The policy covers existing employees. Any new people onboarded, starting Sept. 7, would be required to have the COVID vaccine.
This statewide policy goes into effect on Sept. 7.