BRICK – Effective October 1, all Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH) employees are required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or they will face termination, according to a recent corporate email.
“HMH is committed to a culture of safety. Over the past year, we have used every tool at our disposal to protect patients and team members from COVID-19. Since December this has included a massive vaccination effort that we have helped lead across our network and the entire state of New Jersey,” CEO Bob Garrett wrote in the email. “Effective October 1, HMH will require all team members, physicians, volunteers, vendors and consultants to be vaccinated against COVID-19 – receiving at least one dose of either Pfizer, Moderna, or J&J and the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna by November 15.”
The email further states how the decision was not made lightly and mirrors similar policies already in place for influenza and other mandatory vaccines. In addition, the email listed numerous reasons as to why the decision was made, such as: patients and the community are requesting to be treated by caregivers and providers who are vaccinated; and different variants are proving to be more contagious and dangerous than the original strain, with unvaccinated patients and team members being the overwhelming majority of people contracting COVID-19.
“COVID-19 vaccines are proven to be safe and highly effective at preventing transmission, hospitalizations and death from the virus. Over the past year, we have used every tool at our disposal to protect patients and team members from COVID-19,” Dr. Daniel Varga, Chief Physician Executive, Hackensack Meridian Health, said. “More than 70 percent of our team members are vaccinated. We are requiring vaccinations for all team members to help stop the spread of this deadly virus and keep our patients, team members and visitors safe. Mandatory vaccinations are the best way to achieve herd immunity and protect our communities from the deadly variants that are threatening to wreak havoc in the months ahead. They’re our best shot at defeating this pandemic once and for all, saving lives and returning to normal.”
Employees who wish to stay unvaccinated will face suspension, and continued non-compliance will result in termination. Anne Green, a spokesperson for Ocean Medical Center explained to Jersey Shore Online that “limited exemptions may be granted to the extent required by law for those with a qualifying medical condition or religious/strongly held belief.”
Many organizations have recently come out to support mandatory vaccination for health care personnel including the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America and the Infectious Diseases Society of America.