St. Francis Hospital, in an image from the AMITA website.

AMITA Health, which operates St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, will require all of its employees, vendors, and volunteers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by November 12.

AMITA is a 19-hospital system with 26,000 workers in the entire chain.

In a news release statement, AMITA said that the spread of the Delta variant makes it necessary to “take every possible step we can to protect our patients, our community, and one another.”

President & CEO Keith Parrott said that vaccines are a very effective way to minimize the impact of breakthrough infections, and “only by vaccinating will we stop these from circulating and mutating.”

AMITA said “reasonable accommodations” will be made for those who do not want to be vaccinated for medical or religious reasons, and “education and listening sessions will be held.”

AMITA joins the other hospital chain with an Evanston facility, locally-based NorthShore University HealthSystem, in mandating COVID vaccinations for employees.

The AMITA announcement follows the full approval of the Pfizer COVID vaccine on Monday by the federal Food and Drug Administration. Until then the vaccine had been administered under an emergency authorization.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.