Three local health care systems said Monday they will make getting vaccinated a requirement for their employees.

St. Luke’s University Health Network, Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Lehigh Valley Health Network said their organizations will shortly introduce policies that will require all employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The new policies will also apply to everyone who works or conducts business within the health care organizations.

“Our health care systems continue to combat the ongoing COVID-19 virus and are committed to the safety of every patient in our care and every colleague on our team,” said Brian A. Nester, DO, MBA, President and Chief Executive Officer, LVHN; Rick Anderson, President and Chief Executive Officer, SLUHN, and Michael Spigel, PT, MHA, President and Chief Executive Officer, Good Shepherd Rehabilitation.

“Being vaccinated is essential to save lives and finally end this pandemic,” the health system CEOs said.

Since December 2020, more than 349 million doses of vaccine have been administered in the U.S., the organizations said.

Serious side effects that could cause a long-term health problem are extremely unlikely following any vaccination, including COVID-19 vaccination, the organizations said.

Current data does not identify any safety concerns for pregnant women who were vaccinated against COVID-19 or for their unborn child.

Both Dr. Jeffrey Jahre from St. Luke's and Dr. Timothy Friel from LVHN say the vast majority of their staff is already fully vaccinated. The new requirement is meant to give a push to get the small minority to get the shots, but it's getting some push back.

"We have heard those concerns and we continue to listen and do our best to understand those concerns," Friel said.

"We are taking individual problems into account. There will be some accommodation made for religious and health deferments, but by and large this is a principle that we feel we need to uphold," Jahre said.

They say they are not by any means the first to implement the policy, and as a timeline to make sure every employee proves they are vaccinated is still in the works, they hope the community sees them as setting an example.

"We know it's effective when you look at all the patients that have been admitted to the hospital. There is almost no exception, these people are unvaccinated," Jahre said.

People can get detailed information about COVID-19, and vaccine safety and effectiveness at LVHN.org/vaccineFAQSLUHN.org and goodshepherdrehab.org.

DISCLAIMER FOR COMMENTS: The views expressed by public comments are not those of this company or its affiliated companies. Please note by clicking on "Post" you acknowledge that you have read the TERMS OF USE and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Your comments may be used on air. Be polite. Inappropriate posts or posts containing offsite links, images, GIFs, inappropriate language, or memes may be removed by the moderator. Job listings and similar posts are likely automated SPAM messages from Facebook and are not placed by WFMZ-TV.