Dunagan said BJC understands that some will be reluctant to get the vaccine.
“I know this is a tough decision for a lot of people,” he said.
BJC already requires vaccination against whooping cough, measles and chickenpox for employees and the annual flu vaccination.
Some have argued that COVID-19 vaccines may not be required like other vaccines because they do not have final approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration but are available under an emergency authorization. But the shots have also been tested in large clinical trials and administered to nearly 175 million people in the US alone.
Last year BJC had 29,300 employees in the St. Louis area. The system includes 15 hospitals and spans the metropolitan area of southern Illinois and southeast Missouri.
So far, 75% of employees have been vaccinated, said BJC President and CEO Rich Liekweg on Tuesday.
“As a health care provider, a major employer and community leader, BJC wants to ensure that we do everything in our power to protect our patients, our valued employees and our communities,” Liekweg said in a statement. “The vaccines available are some of the most effective and safest ever developed.”
Those who fail to get vaccinated could face disciplinary action, said Jackie Tischler, senior vice president and chief people officer of BJC. The requirement applies to all contractors, temporary workers and employees who work remotely.