Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve focused on a simple goal: protecting the health of BlueCross employees while continuing to meet the needs of our members.
We required COVID-19 vaccination for more than 900 of our 6,400 employees, with an announcement in August. The requirement applies to job roles involving in-person contact with BlueCross members — including some of the state’s most vulnerable seniors and those with disabilities — or business and community partners. (It also applies to all company vice presidents and above.)
This isn’t the first time we’ve requested an update to the vaccine records of employees in member-facing roles: Two years ago, when a measles outbreak threatened the country, we required up-to-date measles vaccination from a similar group of employees.
Once the Pfizer vaccine earned full FDA approval, those employees had six weeks to submit proof of full vaccination or request a medical or religious accommodation.
We received several dozen requests for medical or religious accommodation, evaluating them one by one according to the appropriate legal guidelines. Each employee who requested an accommodation received one from the company, and then they each had the decision to accept it. Numerous employees did accept the accommodation provided, while some chose to decline.
While we respect our employee’s views and beliefs, we must take every available safety precaution when employees visit members or providers, or go into the community, on our behalf.
As of Oct. 5, the vast majority of the 900 affected employees were fully vaccinated. Unfortunately, 19 employees chose not to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and are no longer with the company.
We appreciate their service to our members and communities throughout their time with BlueCross, and they are welcome to reapply for a position with the company, either in a non-public facing role if not vaccinated or any role if they get vaccinated.