Important Notice from Shriners Hospitals for Children

TO: All Members of Shriners International
FROM: William S. Bailey, Imperial Potentate, Shriners International
RE: COVID-19 Vaccine Policy

Dear Fellow Nobles,

I want to share with you a very important development affecting Shriners Hospitals for Children. Last week the Joint Boards approved a policy requiring nearly everyone in our health care organization to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This requirement aligns us with many health care organizations around the United States and Canada as well as the recently announced federal mandate. Most of all, it is an extension of our mission: To improve the lives of children.

The requirement affects not only our health care providers and staff of Shriners Hospitals for Children and Shriners International, but also all contractors, vendors and volunteers. Many nobles give generously of their time and energy to make Shriners Hospitals for Children the unique place that it is.

As a one of the largest and most beloved specialty health care systems in the world, Shriners Hospitals for Children cares for one of the most vulnerable populations: children. Many of our patients have serious underlying conditions that put them in high risk categories; more are ineligible for vaccines because of their age. Shriners Hospitals for Children has always put the needs of our patients first.

With the recent FDA approval of the Pfizer product, we know that a safe and effective vaccine exists. FDA approval of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines is expected soon. Science has shown that overwhelmingly, these vaccines protect people from hospitalization, ICU-level care and death. For everyone’s safety, our Joint Boards did not take a vaccine requirement policy under consideration until FDA approval was granted. They then initiated a thorough and deliberative process to determine the appropriate course of action for our organization. Through this process, it became clear: Creating a fully vaccinated space is part of our obligation to our patients and to one another.

Who will be affected?

Simply put, all of us, because we are all part owners of our health care system. Everyone at every Shriners Hospitals for Children location in the United States and Canada, including Headquarters, must comply with the policy. All employees, contract employees, vendors, and volunteers who enter a building owned and/or operated by Shriners Children’s are required to be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
At this time, the policy does not include our Mexico location, because the vaccine is not currently readily available to all in Mexico.
Please note, the policy does apply to volunteers, including our Shriners family. Your contributions to the health and well-being of our patients is immeasurable, and we hope that all our nobles who volunteer will be able to continue those efforts.

While nobles who don’t get vaccinated (or get an approved exemption) won’t be able to enter the health care system buildings, volunteer or interact with patients, there remain many ways that they can support their temple and the health care system. In fact, those efforts become even more important.

When does the policy take effect?

Everyone must be fully vaccinated or have appropriate approved exemption forms by December 6.

What if I don’t want or can’t get the vaccination?

It is a requirement of employment or volunteering with Shriners Hospitals for Children that all eligible persons be fully vaccinated. Those few who receive exemptions will be required to follow strict protocols that are anticipated to include masking with a special N95 mask and COVID testing.

The health care landscape and the global pandemic situation are both changing rapidly. As our policies evolve, so too are federal, state and provincial, and local requirements. Our policy could need to be updated or accelerated in order to remain in compliance with regulations.

The support of the fraternity’s nobility has always been critical to the success of Shriners Hospitals for Children. That has been especially true as we have navigated this pandemic. Together, we will continue to put the well-being of the children first and provide hope and healing to families across the globe.

Yours in the faith,

William S. “Bill” Bailey
Imperial Potentate
Shriners International