One of Mississippi’s largest hospital systems to require all employees to get vaccinated

Published 3:42 pm Thursday, August 12, 2021

Baptist Memorial Health Care will require all employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine by Nov. 1.

“After much consideration and discussion, our leadership team believes this is the best decision for our employees, patients and community,” said Baptist Memorial Health Care President and CEO Jason Little. “With the growing threat of COVID-19 variants and our duty to provide a safe environment for vulnerable patients, a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for our employees is the responsible and right thing to do.”

About 60% of Baptist’s 19,000-plus employees in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee are vaccinated, which is comparable to other Memphis-area hospitals. This includes Baptist Memorial Hospitals in Jackson, Oxford, Yazoo City, Carthage, Columbus, Southaven and other locations.

“As health care providers, we have seen firsthand the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine in preventing severe illness and hospitalizations,” said Little. “We are taking every reasonable precaution to protect our courageous employees who are exposed to this virus daily.”

The overwhelming majority of Baptist’s hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated.

“As health care providers, it’s important that we set the example and take the lead in protecting our community,” said Little.

Baptist will have a process in place for employees who cannot get the vaccine for health and other reasons, similar to the process Baptist follows for the flu vaccine requirement.