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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will require its employees to get vaccinated for COVID-19 by Sept. 9.

Employees who are not vaccinated and do not have an exemption for religious or medical reasons will be placed on two weeks unpaid leave, according to a letter sent to employees by Dr. James R. Downing, President and Chief Executive Officer.

The letter states that vaccinations are available on the St. Jude campus, as well as in the community. Vaccination provides more than 90% protection, and the vaccines have been shown to be effective against the Delta variant and others, the letter states.

A portion of the letter follows below:

“I understand that some of you have questions and concerns about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and may be reluctant to do so for various reasons. At St. Jude, we have a team of world-renowned researchers and clinicians who are happy to speak with anyone who is hesitant about receiving the vaccine.

As our mission states and as our St. Jude core values echo, we must ensure that advancing treatment for children with catastrophic diseases is at the center of everything we do. This means providing our patients and their families with the safest treatment environment possible.

To ensure we meet that mandate, we are requiring that all St. Jude employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Thursday, September 9.

We reached this decision after much research, analysis and discussion. It is the right thing to keep our campus safe. Our duty to our patients frames everything we do. This is the logical next step to ensure we stay one step ahead of the virus.”

St. Jude employs more than 3,600 people, according to the nonprofit’s website.