Published by Kirby Winn on Friday, August 27, 2021 in News Releases
ImpactLife will require all of its 700-plus employees in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by November 1, 2021. The blood services provider serving 125 hospitals across four states announced the vaccination requirement to its employees earlier today. The requirement can be met with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that has received full FDA approval or with the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines that are available under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization. ImpactLife will consider requests from employees for medical and religious exemptions.
The decision to require vaccination for employees comes in a time of rising COVID-19 infection rates and as private employers, colleges and universities, government entities, and other institutions across the ImpactLife service region implement their own vaccination requirements. “Our decision comes after several weeks of dialogue and deliberation, with feedback from key stakeholders across our organization,” said Mike Parejko, Chief Executive Officer (right). “Ultimately, the decision to require COVID-19 vaccination was unanimously supported by our executive management team, our medical leadership, and Board of Directors. We believe this step will help ensure the safety of our staff and the ability to continue to provide our region’s blood supply as we work through the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The vaccination requirement was announced to employees in a message from Parejko and Dr. Louis Katz, Chief Medical Officer. The message states the requirement is being put into place to help ensure a safe work environment, to provide clarity on employees’ vaccination status for blood donors, volunteers, vendors, and hospitals served by ImpactLife, and to assist with COVID-19 protocol compliance in blood center operations.
Under current policies, employees who are not vaccinated cannot come to work for a period of 10 days following a known or suspected COVID-19 exposure. With immunization, they can continue to work as long as they remain well. The ongoing need to adjust for the number of available staff has led to scheduling challenges for ImpactLife blood drives and other critical operations.
“All of the available vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective in randomized, controlled trials and their effectiveness has been repeatedly confirmed in real-world experience,” said Dr. Louis Katz, Chief Medical Officer (right). “Being vaccinated is much safer than getting a COVID-19 infection and vaccination is the best way to reduce rates of severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. It also reduces transmission to vulnerable contacts.”
Parejko notes many of the hospitals served by ImpactLife have already implemented vaccine requirements for their own employees and vendors. “These policies include our own ImpactLife staff who deliver blood to hospitals and who work on mobile blood drives hosted by the hospitals we serve,” said Parejko. “It has increasingly become more challenging to meet staffing requirements for blood drives where fully vaccinated staff are required by the host organization.”
ImpactLife is a not-for-profit community organization providing blood services to more than 120 hospitals in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin, as well as resource sharing partners across the country. Services extend from southcentral Wisconsin to St. Louis, Missouri and from Danville, Illinois to Chariton, Iowa. (See a map of the ImpactLife service region.) ImpactLife operates 20 Donor Centers and holds approximately 5000 mobile blood drives annually to provide blood components needed for patient transfusions at hospitals throughout our region.
ImpactLife recently announced its new name. For more information on the name change, see www.bloodcenter.org/impactlife. For more information, see www.bloodcenter.org and find us @impactlifeblood on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat.