Jackson Health System in Miami will be requiring all workers to get vaccinated and any employee who doesn't will face a number of restrictions at its hospitals, the system's CEO said Thursday.
Beginning Aug. 23, all employees, physicians, students, and onsite vendors for Jackson Health, the state's largest hospital system, will be required to be vaccinated, CEO Carlos Migoya said at a news conference.
Any worker who hasn't received at least one dose by Aug. 23 must wear an N95 mask at all times in all hospital facilities, and won't be allowed to go in any cafeteria, dining room, or coffee shop, Migoya said. In addition, they can't take the mask off to eat or drink inside any facility and can only eat outside, are not allowed to remove the mask in lounges or breakrooms.
All unvaccinated workers will also only be able to attend meetings through Zoom, and must take a mandatory educational course on the benefits of the vaccine, Migoya said.
"This new vaccine requirement for all Jackson employees may seem like a drastic measure but it's critically important in order for us to save lives," Migoya said. "This was not a decision that I made lightly."
Migoya said any employee who is fully vaccinated by Sept. 30 will receive a one-time payment of $150.
The CEO made the announcement as COVID-19 hospitalization rates in Miami-Dade County and at Jackson's hospitals have been spiking in recent days. Migoya said as of Thursday, there were 320 COVID-19 patients in Jackson hospitals, a 385% increase since July 1, when there were 66 COVID-19 patients.
Nearly 100% of Jackson's COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated or immuno-compromised transplant patients, Migoya said.
"These numbers are staggering and deeply concerning," Migoya said. "This is entirely preventable with a Covid vaccine that is widely available now."
Migoya said around 60% of Jackson's 13,000 or so employees have been vaccinated so far.
"Given the dire situation we are facing, that is way, way too low," he said. "Our employees have had countless opportunities to get vaccinated."
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