With the welfare of our staff, patients, and community in mind, Southern New Hampshire’s major healthcare systems—Catholic Medical Center, SolutionHealth (Elliot Health System & Southern New Hampshire Health) and St. Joseph Hospital—as well as the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester, have announced mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policies for their organizations.
Since March 2020, healthcare workers in New Hampshire have witnessed firsthand the devastating harm of COVID-19. It has taken a toll on our families, our caregivers, and our patients. Many of our front-line staff have battled the illness themselves, only to come back and continue caring for the sick.
As healthcare leaders in southern NH, we have an obligation to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The vaccine is the best tool we have to do that. Given the fact that nearly all cases of COVID-19 are currently the highly-transmissible Delta variant, it is more critical than ever to get vaccinated. Even with the Delta variant, the vaccine helps to reduce transmission and limit the severity of illness in those who do contract the disease.
Each of our institutions has taken time to craft vaccine policies that achieve our shared goal of patient and staff safety while accommodating for medical and religious exemptions. We are also confident that our policies will align with the forthcoming guidelines of the White House’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. In addition, the FDA’s final approval of the Pfizer vaccine should instill confidence in those who’ve not yet been immunized that the vaccine is safe and effective. The Moderna and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccines are also expected to receive approval, though the timetable is still unknown.
We are proud that the vast majority of the workforce at our organizations is already vaccinated. Furthermore, we are consistently educating staff, listening to their concerns, and answering their questions. Our main objective must be to protect each other and our patients the best we can from this deadly virus. From a regulatory perspective, our organizations are awaiting further clarification on the requirements for federal compliance on the vaccine mandate.
Our patients and staff deserve nothing less than a policy that puts their safety at the forefront.