SAN ANTONIO (August 16, 2021) – In response to rising local infection rates and in accordance with its mission of advancing health and science related to combatting infectious diseases, Texas Biomedical Research Institute will begin requiring its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The Institute is currently at an 83% vaccination rate.
The Institute, known as Texas Biomed, joins the ranks of many national companies such as Disney, United Airlines, the Mayo Clinic, Google and Facebook, with the vaccine mandate, which goes into effect today.
“This was a natural choice stemming from our values and mission,” said Larry S. Schlesinger, M.D., President/CEO of Texas Biomed. “From research done on our own campus by our own scientists, we know that COVID-19 vaccines are scientifically proven safe and effective. They are our best protection against the virus.”
Schlesinger, an internationally recognized authority in infectious diseases, said the new policy will apply to all employees of the Institute, as well as any long-term visitors such as graduate students working on the 200-acre campus in San Antonio. Texas Biomed has 370 employees, including 70 doctoral-level scientists. The Texas Biomed team works on understanding disease development, diagnostics, therapies and vaccines for infectious diseases, as well as understanding how infection impacts vulnerable populations, such as the elderly and those with metabolic disorders.
“As a research institution and a community leader, it’s our responsibility to listen to the science and serve as an example of best practices,” Schlesinger said. “It is important to us to keep our employees safe and healthy and ensure they are not spreading infection to each other, to the community or to the animals we have in our care.”
Texas Biomed and its Southwest National Primate Research Center house small rodents and about 2,500 nonhuman primates used in pre-clinical studies. Its rhesus macaques played critical roles in the development of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody therapeutic. And, Texas Biomed has continued its COVID-19 work with more than 30 active projects.
Texas Biomed recently reinstated its mask requirement for anyone on campus. Under the new vaccination policy, an employee or long-term visitor must be fully vaccinated within the next 90 days. Exemptions may be requested for medical or religious reasons, and those persons will be subject to weekly COVID-19 testing.
About Texas Biomed
Texas Biomed is one of the world’s leading independent biomedical research institutions dedicated to eradicating infection and advancing health worldwide through innovative biomedical research. Texas Biomed partners with researchers and institutions around the world to develop vaccines and therapeutics against viral pathogens causing AIDS, hepatitis, hemorrhagic fever, tuberculosis and parasitic diseases responsible for malaria and schistosomiasis disease. The Institute has programs in host-pathogen interaction, disease intervention and prevention, and population health to understand the links between infectious diseases and other diseases such as aging, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. For more information on Texas Biomed, go to www.TxBiomed.org.