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Spectrum Health Lakeland officials say workers who have not gotten the COVID-19 vaccine need to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18, or risk losing their job.

ST. JOSEPH — About 30 percent of Spectrum Health Lakeland staff members have just over a month before they must receive a COVID-19 vaccine or face losing their job.

Jessica Springer, spokesperson for Spectrum Health Lakeland, told The Herald-Palladium this week all Spectrum Health team members who are not yet vaccinated – who may work onsite at any time, and do not qualify for an approved exemption – need to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18.

“To date, approximately 70 percent of team members at Spectrum Health Lakeland are vaccinated,” she said.

Spectrum Health, the parent health system of Lakeland, announced in early August it would require all of its employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 eight weeks after the Federal Drug Administration approved the first vaccine. That includes medical staff, students, volunteers and contractors.

The FDA approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Aug. 23.

Springer said team members who are not compliant with the vaccine requirement by Oct. 18 will be removed from the work schedule for up to 14 days.

“They will be considered to have voluntarily resigned employment if they choose not to become compliant within that period,” she said.

Springer said the process for vaccinations includes a thorough review of medical and religious exemption requests as required by law.

“We are still actively working to review exemption requests and provide additional guidance for team members,” she said.

In addition, she said Spectrum Health will continue to evaluate federal, state and local rules and regulations around vaccination requirements in the workplace and how they may impact the organization.

Last week, President Joe Biden announced federal vaccine requirements that mandate all employers with more than 100 workers must be vaccinated or test for the virus weekly. Health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid also will have to be fully vaccinated.

Contact: anewman@TheHP.com, 932-0357, Twitter: @HPANewman