Summa Health becomes first major NE Ohio hospital requiring employees to get vaccinated

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AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – Summa Health is now the first major hospital in Northeast Ohio to require its employees to be fully vaccinated.

Workers have until the end of October to comply or they could be terminated.

“We made an announcement Thursday at 10 a.m. to all of our employees, board members, and volunteers,” said Summa CEO Dr. Cliff Deveny.

According to Deveny, the vaccine mandate applies to all employees, vendors, students and volunteers.

“When we saw the pace at which the Delta variant was ravaging through Ohio,” said Deveny.

It is also a condition of employment, meaning there is punishment for those who don’t comply.

“We have a thing called progressive discipline. It starts with counseling over why someone is violating the policy, but after repeated offenses, it can lead to potentially being terminated,” said Deveny.

Deveny said exceptions include anyone with medical or religious exemptions.

Summa employs over 8,000 people. Deveny says so far, 70% of them have completed both vaccines.

“I would say the reaction has been 50-50. We are trying to sit down with each of these people with town hall meetings or having personal discussions. In the end, we know that there will be people who will not comply with the policy,” said Deveny.

As of Thursday, the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and MetroHealth are encouraging, but not requiring vaccination for caregivers and other staff.

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