Spectrum Health announced a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all employees in July. Now, the health system will allow exemptions for those with natural immunity to the virus.
Employees with a positive PCR or antigen test from a CLIA-certified lab, plus a positive qualitative antibody test within the past three months, are allowed an exemption.
The medical exemptions for the mandate are determined by a committee of clinical, vaccine and infectious disease experts.
Spectrum says their decisions are consistent with the FDA and available research.
Hospital officials stated they still recommend a vaccine for everyone, even those with a prior COVID-19 infection.
Although, they say new research shows that a natural infection affords protection from reinfection and severe symptoms for a period of time. It is not known how long natural immunity remains effective.
“Vaccine trials and real-world data have shown that it is safe for previously infected individuals to receive the COVID-19 vaccine; side effects following vaccination were no greater in this group,” said the hospital system in a statement.
Officials say if further research shows a significant waning of protection, longer-lasting protection or proof of full immunity, their requirements will be updated as they see fit.
RELATED VIDEO: Spectrum Health reaches half a million COVID vaccines, 1 million tests
►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.