ST. CLOUD -- Earlier this week, CentraCare became the latest health care system to require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The requirement also applies to employees working remotely, contracted employees, volunteers and students.

CentraCare spokesman Dr. George Morris says throughout the pandemic CentraCare has been looked upon as a leader, and as an organization feel they feel this policy aligns with the advice they have been giving the community.

I've encouraged everyone in our community to get vaccinated. For us to be able to do this for our employees, as a requirement, feels like it stays in line with our purpose to guide, serve and be here to help the health of our community.

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Morris says CentraCare is not offering a test base alternative to the mandate, as they feel the benefits to a vaccine outweigh the risks. He says there will be exemptions granted for medical or religious reasons.

Morris says they understand this mandate will not be welcomed by everyone, but as an organization, collectively felt this was the best decision for their staff, patients and community.

According to CentraCare, more than 92% of physicians and 94% of advance practice providers have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

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