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NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Cerner Corp., the Kansas City area’s largest private employer, will join the ranks of companies requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The North Kansas City-based health IT company announced Friday that all U.S. associates must be fully vaccinated by Dec. 8, said Misti Preston, director of external communications and public relations. The announcement comes on the first day for the company’s new CEO, Dr. David Feinberg.

A memo distributed to Cerner employees notes that client-facing U.S. associates were told in August that they must show proof of full vaccination by Nov. 1 or sooner, “depending on client requirements.”

Preston said employees will be able to apply for a religious or medical exemption to the vaccine mandate. A committee put together by the company will consider requests for exemptions, and if granted, those associates must undergo regular testing. 

In September, President Joe Biden announced plans to require companies with 100 or more employees to mandate either vaccination or weekly testing of employees. Still, the announcement by Cerner is noteworthy because it is the area’s largest private-sector employer.