SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)– Trinity Health, the parent company of Mercy Medical Center, will require all colleagues, clinical staff, contractors, and those conducting business in its health care facilities be vaccinated against COVID-19 across their national health system.

According to a news release sent to 22News, the mandate is effective immediately and will impact the organization’s more than 117,000 employees in 22 states nationwide including the nearly 11,000 Trinity Health Of New England colleagues in both Connecticut and Massachusetts. The new requirement is an effort to stop the spread of the virus and keep all patients, colleagues and the broader communities safe.

Trinity Health has encouraged COVID-19 vaccination at all its facilities since vaccines were first approved in December 2020. They estimate nearly 75% of Trinity Health employees have already received at least one dose of the vaccine, and hope to close the gap with this new requirement.

“Trinity Health Of New England strongly supports vaccination, as it aligns with our Core Value of safety,” said Reggy Eadie, M.D., M.B.A., President and CEO of Trinity Health Of New England. “The science has proven the vaccines currently available are both safe and effective. We feel strongly that the COVID-19 vaccine is the single most effective tool in slowing, and even stopping, the spread of the coronavirus. As leaders in health care we have an obligation to do our part to protect ourselves, our colleagues, our patients, and our communities.”

Employees at Trinity Health and its Health Ministries must meet a series of rolling deadlines, with most locations requiring them to submit proof of vaccination by September 21, 2021. Exemptions are available for religious or health reasons and must be formally requested, documented and approved. Employees who do not meet criteria for exemption and fail to show proof of vaccination will face termination of employment.