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COVID-19 vaccination required of VCU Health System employees

VCU Health downtown campus VCU Health downtown campus, Richmond

An update to our VCU Health community

Faced with mounting evidence of the threat posed by the COVID-19 Delta variant, and reviewing feedback from thousands of team members, we have decided to require COVID-19 vaccination for all team members and contractors, with few exceptions. The decision aligns our university and its health system with Governor Northam’s decision to require state employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. It is also consistent with the recent actions of other academic health systems nationwide, and a growing number of health care systems in the Commonwealth.


It’s the right thing to do.

Requiring the vaccine will protect our patients, many of whom are elderly or have health conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to the effects of the virus. Everyone in our health care system has an ethical duty to do everything possible to keep them safe, including getting vaccinated. Although we’ll continue to wear masks and take other measures to prevent spreading COVID-19 to our patients, the Delta variant requires us to do more.

It also ensures the safety and the welfare of our team members and their families. Getting vaccinated will sharply reduce their risk of getting infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, and it will nearly eliminate their risk of getting severely ill or dying from the disease.

Now is the time to pivot from urging vaccination to requiring it. This is due to the sudden emergence of the Delta variant, which is more dangerous than prior strains that killed more than 600,000 Americans and millions of people worldwide. Delta is not only more contagious; it may cause more severe disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently declared that “The war has changed.” We agree.

In Virginia, predictive models indicate that if we don’t act quickly we could find ourselves back in the dark days of January and February 2021. That’s not something we want to go through again.

While we don’t want to lose a single team member over policy, but we must keep our facilities, staff, patients and guests safe from the growing threat of the Delta virus and other variants. Vaccination is the most effective way to do it.

Art Kellermann, M.D., M.P.H.
Professor and Senior Vice President for VCU Health Sciences
CEO of VCU Health System