PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Some hospitals and health networks in the Philadelphia region have announced a mandate for employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as cases begin to rise across the country.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) says it will require all employees and clinical staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by no later than Sept. 1, 2021.
"As an institution grounded in the science and art of healthcare, we believe it is imperative for Penn Medicine to take the lead in requiring employee vaccinations to protect our patients and staff and to set an example to the broader community as we work together to end the COVID-19 pandemic," said UPHS CEO Kevin B. Mahoney in a statement.
Jefferson University Hospital sent a notice to employees last week, informing them that vaccines will soon be required.
Starting September 15, Virtua Health says it will require all 14,000-plus members of its workforce to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
"As care providers, we have an obligation to 'do no harm,'" said Dennis W. Pullin, FACHE, president and CEO of Virtua Health, South Jersey's largest health system. "Having our colleagues protected against this terrible virus helps ensure we keep that promise."
Einstein Healthcare Network says 75% of its staff are vaccinated but a decision to mandate vaccines has not been made.
Temple University Hospital also hasn't made a decision to require shots.
The United States is in an "unnecessary predicament" of soaring COVID-19 cases fueled by unvaccinated Americans and the virulent delta variant, the nation's top infectious diseases expert said Sunday.
"We're going in the wrong direction," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, describing himself as "very frustrated."
He said recommending that the vaccinated wear masks is "under active consideration" by the government's leading public health officials. Also, booster shots may be suggested for people with suppressed immune systems who have been vaccinated, Fauci said.
The Department of Veterans Affairs on Monday became the first major federal agency to require health care workers to get COVID-19 vaccines.
At the VA, vaccines will be now mandatory for specified health care personnel - including physicians, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, registered nurses, physician assistants and others who work in departmental facilities or provide direct care to veterans, said VA Secretary Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough.
Employees will have eight weeks to get vaccinated.
"It's the best way to keep veterans safe, especially as the delta variant spreads across the country," McDonough said in a statement. "Whenever a veteran or VA employee sets foot in a VA facility, they deserve to know that we have done everything in our power to protect them from COVID-19.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.