More Organizations Need Vaccine As COVID-19 Delta Cases Continue to Rise | News, Sports, Jobs
As the COVID-19 Delta variant looms with growing concerns about the ongoing pandemic, more organizations are implementing a vaccine mandate.
Last week, UnityPoint Health announced that vaccinations would be required of all employees and staff by November 1. The Marshalltown VA also began requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for staff in July, as required by the National VA.
Since UnityPoint’s announcement, more and more medical centers in Iowa have requested the vaccine. This week, MercyOne Medical Center and Broadlawns Medical Center are demanding a vaccine.
McFarland Clinic marketing and public relations director Shelley Goecke said clinic management is reviewing and discussing a vaccine mandate for staff, but no decision has yet been made.
UnityPoint Marshalltown Hospital administrator Shari King said the organization has a responsibility to lead by example.
“As a healthcare organization, our patients rely on us to keep them safe,” said the king. “It is our responsibility to protect those we love and work with, as well as to lead by example in the communities we serve. “
She said the decision to require the vaccine was taken carefully and deliberately as COVID-19 cases increase across the country with a more contagious and dangerous Delta variant on the rise.
“We have reached a turning point in the COVID-19 pandemic”, said the king. “New data shows that the Delta variant spreads twice as fast and is more contagious than previous strains. In our three states, we have seen a significant increase in non-COVID respiratory admissions in adult and pediatric patients while facing unprecedented levels of vacancies. We know COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. We must do all we can to support and protect our patients, team members and communities before the respiratory season. “
Since last week’s announcement, King said UnityPoint has received letters, emails and comments expressing support for the vaccine’s mandate. She said support came from doctors, patients, board members, donors and staff.
“From our respiratory therapists, to our doctors and nurses, our teams are tired”, said the king. “They have been fighting this virus and taking care of their communities for 18 months. They need the support of the community, so we ask everyone to please get vaccinated.
King noted that UnityPoint’s vaccination requirement for all staff is supported by the American Hospital Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the National Association for Home Care and Hospice. The requirement also places UnityPoint Health among more than 100 healthcare systems across the country, requiring a COVID-19 vaccine for employees.
UnityPoint employees who choose not to be vaccinated against COVID-19 will be subject to voluntary resignation or termination, but may request an exemption for medical or religious reasons. This practice is consistent with UnityPoint Health policies for other required vaccines. Pregnant team members will be strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, but a temporary deferral will be available.
Contact Trevor Babcock at 641-753-6611 or [email protected]