GRAND JUNCTION, Colo – Hospitals in Mesa County issued vaccine mandates for the four area hospitals in the county.

Mesa County Public Health Executive Director Jeff Kuhr said Friday, “Due to the recent COVID surge and highly contagious variants, the healthcare organizations standing with us today will now require COVID-19 vaccinations for their staff.”

The vaccine mandate is for health providers in the area, including but not limited to; St. Mary’s, Community, and Family Health West.

These changes will go into effect in the next couple of months.

Just 44% of Mesa County residents are fully vaccinated and local health officials say this latest decision will help protect health organizations on the Western Slope.

Dr. Andrew Jones, MD at St. Mary’s Health, says, “it’s helpful to protect our staff and patients from contracting COVID-19 from each other. It’s also the right thing to do to lead by example.”

One local hospital CEO says the number of vaccinated employees varies in certain areas of the hospital, but FDA approval could help out those who are hesitant.

Chris Thomas, CEO at Community Hospital, says, “one of the biggest things that can help us is if the FDA would just get busy and get the thing approved. We hear studies anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of the people who are unvaccinated are saying that because of the FDA approval, that’s what they’re waiting for.”

Dr. Thomas Tobin, with CMO Community Hospital, says, “getting people vaccinated and upping the level of immunity in any community and across the country is what’s going to drive this, so we can all get rid of the masks and we can all go back to some level of normalcy, that we had pre-COVID.”

For a list of available vaccine clinics on the Western Slope, visit,a84fb9ed-deb4-461c-b785-e17c782ef88b,784db609-dc1f-45a5-bad6-8db02e79d44f&radius=25&appointments=false.