PeaceHealth requires COVID-19 vaccination of caregivers

Unvaccinated caregivers with qualifying medical exemptions are subject to advanced protocols.

Submitted by PeaceHealth.

PeaceHealth announced that starting Aug. 31, 2021, all caregivers will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit a qualifying medical exemption. Unvaccinated individuals will be subject to regular COVID-19 testing, as well as additional masking, potential reassignment to non-patient care settings, and other safety protocols. The policy will apply to all caregivers, including providers, students, contractors, vendors, and volunteers.

“Though nearly 80% of PeaceHealth caregivers have already been vaccinated, the rise in hospitalizations in our communities is a stark reminder that we are facing a public health emergency and we must do more,” said Dr. Doug Koekkoek, PeaceHealth’s Chief Physician Executive. “We believe all healthcare workers who are medically able should get a COVID-19 vaccine to keep themselves, our patients, and our communities safe. Doing so is part of our Mission to promote personal and community health and our Vision to make sure that every person receives safe, compassionate care.”

While the organization has had high rates of voluntary caregiver vaccination, after thoughtful deliberation and a formal ethical discernment, PeaceHealth joins many health systems across the country, and professional organizations including the Catholic Health Association, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, and others in ensuring public health by requiring vaccination.

Bob K. Pelz, MD, PeaceHealth’s system medical director of Infection Prevention, noted that “New variants of COVID-19 pose a critical threat to those unable to be vaccinated, including children and the medically vulnerable. It is our moral obligation to first do no harm and act for the common good. COVID-19 vaccines are proven to be the best way to protect ourselves and reduce the likelihood of harming others.”

This new policy is a reflection of the organization’s shared commitment to ensure every patient receives safe care at PeaceHealth and is part of a multi-measured approach to protect caregivers and patients, along with the supply of personal protective equipment, routine testing, masking, social distancing, diligent hygiene, contact tracing and proper quarantining.

About PeaceHealth: PeaceHealth, based in Vancouver, Wash., is a not-for-profit Catholic health system offering care to communities in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. PeaceHealth has approximately 16,000 caregivers, a medical group practice with more than 1,200 providers and 10 medical centers serving both urban and rural communities throughout the Northwest. In 1890, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace founded what has become PeaceHealth. The Sisters shared expertise and transferred wisdom from one medical center to another, always finding the best way to serve the unmet need for healthcare in their communities. Today, PeaceHealth is the legacy of the founding Sisters and continues with a spirit of respect, stewardship, collaboration and social justice in fulfilling its Mission. Visit us online at