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Spectrum Health’s vaccine mandate now excludes those who can prove natural immunity

Hospital officials say new research shows that a natural infection affords protection from reinfection and severe symptoms for a period of time.
Credit: 13 ON YOUR SIDE

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

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