Cincinnati Children’s announced that all employees and others who work at the medical center must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 1, 2021.

Why is Cincinnati Children’s requiring employees and others who work at the medical center to be vaccinated?

Safety is our foundational responsibility. We are taking this important step at this time to protect patients, families, and our workforce as well as to provide further reassurance that it is safe for our community to seek the healthcare they need. Our hospitals are already safe to visit because of infection prevention and control measures, which include masking, distancing, handwashing, and cleaning. We believe that in addition to such measures, the best way to keep our patients, families, and employees safe from COVID-19 is through vaccination.

Who at Cincinnati Children’s will be required to get a COVID-19 vaccination?

Proof of vaccination will be required of all Cincinnati Children’s employees. Contractors, volunteers, vendors and students who work onsite at any of the medical center’s facilities also will have to be vaccinated. Exemptions for the COVID vaccination requirement may be granted for approved medical contraindications or religious prohibitions.

Dr. Robert Frenck of Cincinnati Children's gets a COVID-19 vaccination.

Robert Frenck, MD, director of the Vaccine Research Center at Cincinnati Children's, shared an image with employees as he received his COVID-19 shot earlier this year.

Why does Cincinnati Children’s believe a lack of vaccination poses a risk?

Many of our patients are not immunized because they are too young to be eligible for COVID vaccination under current FDA rules. In addition, unvaccinated people are more likely to contract COVID, which could jeopardize staffing necessary to care for patients.

What practices has Cincinnati Children’s already adopted to protect patients, families, and employees from COVID?

In addition to encouraging employee vaccination, Cincinnati Children’s follows infection-prevention and control practices designed to protect everyone, including those too young to be eligible for COVID vaccination. These practices include masking, distancing, frequent hand washing, daily self-screening by employees, and avoiding working on-site while ill. No single safety precaution is 100% effective against COVID, but in combination these practices offer significant protection.

Why do non-employees who work at Cincinnati Children’s need to be vaccinated?

Anyone who works in the medical center has an obligation to safeguard the patients, families, employees and others at Cincinnati Children’s.

How many employees does Cincinnati Children’s have, and who do they care for?

Cincinnati Children’s employs 16,600 people, making it the largest hospital system and second-largest workforce in the region. The hospital’s 1.38 million patient encounters in Fiscal Year 2020 benefited local children as well as kids from all 50 states and 51 countries, including those treated for complex or rare disorders. Many of those patients are too young to be eligible for COVID vaccination.

Why is Cincinnati Children’s requiring COVID-19 vaccination now rather than waiting for full FDA approval?

A resurgence of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths nationwide has been attributed to highly contagious variants of the original virus as well as a significant number of unvaccinated people. Vaccination is the best way to put the pandemic behind us. A vaccinated workforce helps protect those at the medical center who can’t be vaccinated. We have a unique responsibility to children younger than 12, who currently aren’t eligible for vaccination against COVID.

Can COVID vaccines protect against the Delta variant?

Yes, the existing vaccines can protect against severe illness, hospitalization and death caused by new strains of COVID-19 such as the Delta variant.

How can workers at Cincinnati Children’s get vaccinated against COVID?

Cincinnati Children’s operates COVID-19 vaccine clinics for the public at our main campus in Avondale as well as other locations in the region. If you are vaccinated at Cincinnati Children’s, you will receive the two-dose Pfizer vaccine. Employees and other workers also may get vaccinated by community providers.

How does Cincinnati Children’s know COVID vaccines are safe and effective?

About 400 million doses of COVID vaccine have been safely administered in the United States. That equates to about half the people in the country being fully vaccinated, and nearly 60% having received at least one dose. Our medical experts at Cincinnati Children’s, including those overseeing clinical trials of COVID vaccines, indicate that the vaccines can’t give you the disease, don’t affect your DNA, don’t contain stem cells, and don’t affect fertility. In addition, nearly all people in the U.S. now hospitalized with COVID are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated, which indicates the effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing severe illness.

How did Cincinnati Children’s help make COVID vaccine available?

Cincinnati Children’s was among the first medical centers in the nation to evaluate COVID-19 vaccines through clinical trials involving adults and children, which have demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of these vaccines. More than 1,400 people, ranging in age from 6 months to 86 years old, have participated in these studies at Cincinnati Children’s. Numerous scientists, physicians, nurses, pharmacists, data managers and others are involved in vaccine research at Cincinnati Children’s. Robert Frenck, MD, director of the Gamble Vaccine Research Center at Cincinnati Children’s, is the principal site investigator for the study of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID vaccine (now authorized for those 12 or older) as well as the AstraZeneca vaccine. Cincinnati Children’s is also conducting clinical trials involving the Moderna vaccine.

How can I find out more about COVID and vaccines?

For more information about COVID and vaccines, visit the Vaccine Resources website of Cincinnati Children’s.