Chesapeake Regional Healthcare, Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters Health System, Riverside Health System, and Sentara Healthcare have announced they each expanded their employee vaccination policies to include the expectation that all team members will be fully vaccinated against covid-19 by October 18, 2021. This timeline gives employees eight weeks to become fully vaccinated now that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved at least one of the vaccines. The region’s healthcare organizations’ announcements come after the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association’s July 18 statement supporting covid-19 vaccine requirements for all hospital and health system employees.
The highly contagious Delta variant is causing another spike in the number of covid-19 infections nationally, with unvaccinated individuals at the highest risk. As the community’s front-line defense against covid-19, Hampton Roads’ leading healthcare providers believe they each have a moral and ethical responsibility to protect the health of their team members, patients, residents, and communities through a vaccination requirement.
According to a press release from Sentara, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has proven covid-19 vaccines to effectively protect against the covid-19 virus. The Pfizer vaccine, for example, carries 88% efficacy against the highly contagious and rapidly spreading Delta variant. After thoughtful consideration and deliberation of this data and the positive impacts required vaccination would have for the community, the four Hampton Roads healthcare organizations each join a growing list of hospitals and health systems across the U.S. in protecting public health by requiring vaccination. Additionally, both statewide and national organizations including the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Nurses Association support vaccination requirements.
Each healthcare organization has begun the process of notifying their respective team members of the new policy update. Consistent with each organization’s current vaccine policy guidelines, this extends to all affiliated physicians, volunteers, students, and others who work in and for the health systems. Organizations outlined their specific vaccine policies, provided resources about the safety and benefits of vaccination, and how to receive a free covid-19 vaccine.