CHI Memorial becomes Chattanooga's first hospital to require employee COVID-19 vaccinations

Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Mark Anderson got his vaccination from Valerie Vargo RN in December.

CHI Memorial employees and staff must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 1 in order to keep their jobs, making the hospital system Chattanooga's first to require vaccines for employment.

CHI Memorial officials made the announcement via news release Thursday, calling the decision "an effort to continue protecting our patients, staff and communities from this dangerous disease."

The hospital already requires its approximately 4,600 workers to receive an annual flu shot as a condition of employment, which is standard throughout much of the health care industry.

The COVID-19 vaccine requirement includes all physicians, advanced practice providers, volunteers and others caring for patients within CHI Memorial facilities, according to the news release.

(READ MORE: Tennessee COVID-19 surge straining hospitals, shows 'no signs of slowing,' health official says)

"As health care providers, we have a responsibility to help end this pandemic and protect our patients, our colleagues and those in our communities.