BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — A well-known hospital in our area will now require COVID-19 vaccines.

ARH announced internally on Wednesday morning that the hospital will now require all employees, providers, students, volunteers, vendors and contractors who work within ARH to receive at least the initial dose of COVID-19 vaccination by September 15, 2021. For vaccines that require two doses, the hospital will require the full vaccination by November 1, 2021.

This mandate will be for all ARH locations in both West Virginia and Kentucky. In our region, this will impact the ARH in Beckley and Hinton. A spokesperson for the hospital, Jeri Knowlton, said the safety of their staff and patients was the reason for the decision.

Despite vaccination education and outreach efforts, the communities we serve, including our ARH healthcare staff, have not yet reached a critical mass of vaccination to provide sufficient protection for the unvaccinated.

Jeri Knowlton, WV Area Marketing Manager for ARH

The memo obtained by 59News also stated that unvaccinated ARH employees will receive a $200 bonus after getting the vaccine.