In an official release on Wednesday, July 28, UCHealth announced it will require all employees, providers,volunteers and partners to be vaccinated by Oct. 1. UCHealth aims to increase safety for patients, visitors, and team members by mandating the vaccine.

President and CEO of UCHealth, Elizabeth Concordia, says:

We know that vaccination will also improve health and safety [...] we want to set an example and help bring an end to this pandemic.

After more than a year of fighting the initial strain of COVID-19 and developing a vaccine, the Delta variant has now become the dominant strain in Colorado and around the country. According to the CDC, the Delta variant now accounts for 83% of COVID-19 cases. UCHealth believes the vaccination is essential in protecting employee, patients, and visitors.

As of right now, 85% of UCHealth staff, nearly 26,000 employees, have been vaccinated. To provide a further bonus to getting the vaccine, UCHealth is also providing a $500 bonus to employees who have been fully vaccinated by Aug. 22.

Dr. Michelle Barron, senior medical director of infection prevention for UCHealth, spoke on how most people who have been hospitalized with COVID-19 have not been vaccinated and how others can stay safe from it.

The best way to stay safe from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated [...] About 94% of our hospitalized patients are unvaccinated. [...] Vaccinated people are less likely to need ICU-level car [...]

Dr. Barron made a point to stress that the vaccines have been proven to be safe and are effective against the Delta variant. Dr. Barron says that if you are vaccinated, it reduces the severity of the illness and the risk if you need to be hospitalized.

Although employees are required to get vaccinated, they still have a choice between Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson. The only employees who will be exempt are ones with valid religious or medical reasons. If an employee is granted exemption, they will be required to wear a mask at all times in UCHealth facilities. They will also have to be tested weekly for COVID-19.

Anyone who is not granted an exemption and still refuses to receive the vaccine will face termination.

According to the CDC, 163,588,042 people in the United States have been fully vaccinated.

Credit: CDC Covid Data Tracker, CDC.gov

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.