Ohio — The Cleveland Clinic is pausing implementation of its vaccine mandate for employees after a judge's injunction Tuesday halted the federal vaccine requirement for health care workers, the medical center announced Thursday. 

What You Need To Know

  • Many health systems in Ohio have been requiring vaccination for weeks

  • Hospital officials said they'll continue to encourage vaccination after the halt

  • A judge issued an injunction Tuesday halting the mandate for hospital employees

“In light of these developments, we are pausing the implementation of our COVID-19 vaccine policy, which required all employees and those who provide services with us to either receive the COVID-19 vaccine, or an approved exemption with accommodations,” a statement from the Cleveland Clinic said. 

​​​The health system, one of the largest in the nation, said it is adopting a weekly testing policy for employees who give direct care for patients.

The announcement came after University Hospitals in Cleveland said earlier Thursday that it was halting its vaccine requirement. 

Prior to the halt Tuesday, both health systems had told their employees last month that they were required to complete vaccination by Jan. 4, which was the deadline for about 17 million Americans who work in the health sector. 

University Hospitals said it will continue to strongly encourage vaccination while the mandate is suspended. 

“Come Jan. 4, unless there is further legal action, caregivers may continue to provide patient care services regardless of their vaccination status,” University Hospitals said in a statement. 

Most major hospitals in Ohio have already implemented vaccine mandates, after their staggered deadlines went into place in the fall. 

Some Ohio hospitals are reviewing their policies in the aftermath of the halt, including a couple in the Dayton area that had vaccine deadlines on Wednesday. 

Spokesperson for Dayton Children’s Hospital Katie Solovey said officials are “still evaluating what the impact could be from this week’s decision.”

Premier Health officials are also taking a look at the implications of the injunction. 

“We are reviewing the court decisions and will determine next steps we need to take, if any, after a thorough review,” Premier Health spokesperson Ben Sutherly said.

At Kettering Health in Dayton, after a vaccine deadline Wednesday, spokesperson Michelle Day said officials continue to believe in the policy. She noted that the health system’s requirement was announced before the federal mandate.

“Kettering Health’s vaccine policy protects the health and safety of our staff, our patients, and our community,” she said. “The current rise in COVID-19 cases across our region and state emphasizes the importance of being vaccinated. We continue to urge everyone who can be vaccinated to do so, as the vaccine is our best tool in the fight against COVID-19.”