Sanford Health joins COVIDSafeZones Coalition of businesses


Paul Heinert

Sanford Health Media Relations

605-366-2432 /

SIOUX FALLS, S.D., Oct. 27, 2021 — Sanford Health, the largest rural health system in the country, has been invited to join the #COVIDSafeZones initiative along with other Fortune 500 companies and industry leaders committed to establishing and maintaining healthy and safe workplaces for employees, customers, patients and communities in the midst of the latest COVID-19 surge.

Sanford Health was one of the first large health systems in the country to announce it will require its 48,000 employees to be fully vaccinated by November 1.

Private sector leaders who have joined the #COVIDSafeZones initiative include United Airlines, Kaiser Permanente, Tyson Foods, Baptist Health, Northwell Health, Accenture and Tyler Perry Studios among others.

“It is an honor to join this initiative with respected leaders in the private sector who share in our commitment to create a healthy and safe workplace,” said Bill Gassen, president and CEO of Sanford Health. “Our top priority is to protect our patients and residents, people and communities — and the safest and most effective way to do that is by requiring all employees to be vaccinated.”

The COVID Collaborative has mobilized dozens of public health and science experts and former officials from the Biden, Trump, Obama, and Bush Administrations to provide business leaders with clear and actionable measures they can adopt to keep their workers, customers, patients and communities safe.

As a complement to actions by federal, state, and local governments, #COVIDSafeZones recommendations are achievable, common sense, temporary measures focused on bringing an end to the pandemic and restoring the national vitality and way of life.

“Beating the pandemic cannot be done with actions from the federal government alone. Private sector leaders have a critical role to play,” said John Bridgeland, co-founder and CEO of the COVID Collaborative. “We believe the #COVIDSafeZones recommendations balance respect for public safety and individual liberty. We applaud Sanford Health for its leadership in requiring the vaccine for all of its employees.”

“Our health care workers have sacrificed so much to take care of our patients and communities, and we must do all we can to protect each other and those around us,” said Gassen. “The data is clear: We can put the pandemic behind us if we all do our part and get vaccinated.”

About Sanford Health

Sanford Health, one of the largest health systems in the United States, is dedicated to the integrated delivery of health care, genomic medicine, senior care and services, global clinics, research and affordable insurance. Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the organization includes 46 hospitals, 1,500 physicians and more than 200 Good Samaritan Society senior care locations in 26 states and 10 countries. Learn more about Sanford Health’s transformative work to improve the human condition at or Sanford Health News.