LMH Well being wants a COVID-19 vaccine for workers
LAWRENCE, Kan. (WIBW) – People who work in an LMH Health facility must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by November 21, 2021.
LMH Health President and CEO Russ Johnson announced on Friday that employees, staff, volunteers and suppliers who work anywhere in the healthcare system must now be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, vaccines are the most effective way to prevent serious infections, hospitalizations and deaths,” said Johnson. “Vaccines are critical to protecting our employees, providers, patients and the community.”
Johnson said the request was in response to the already high vaccination rates among providers and employees on the LMH network.
“Ninety-nine percent of our vendors and nearly 90% of our employees are already fully vaccinated,” said Johnson. “This incredible achievement shows their commitment to protecting themselves and their patients. With this requirement we say: ‘We listen to you, we support you and we recognize that at a time like this our responsibility to others must come before individual preferences.’ “
Johnson said the requirement is in line with a growing number of hospitals, health systems and associations across the country, including the Kansas City area, in response to the virus. He said the decision is also in line with LMH Health’s approach to the flu vaccine need.
Dr. LMH Health’s chief of staff James Mandigo said he supported the decision.
“COVID and the Delta variant are difficult to control because people can transmit and transmit the disease without showing symptoms,” said Dr. Mandigo. “There are only very limited treatment options and, due to the increasing infection rate of the Delta variant, very few intensive care beds are available in our region. Our recommendation to need the vaccine comes from the increase in infection rates among unvaccinated people. There is overwhelming evidence that vaccines keep us all healthy in the face of COVID-19. With our region facing enormous challenges again, we must do everything in our power to protect our community, patients and each other. “
LMH Chairman of the Board of Trustees Bob Moody said that while free, effective vaccines have been available for months, only about half of eligible Kansans have completed a COVID-19 series of vaccines.
“Now is not the time to point the blame, but to work together to contain this virus,” said Moody. “Perhaps most troubling of all is the hardship this pandemic has placed on our health community. Our staff and providers take great care of their patients – their friends and neighbors. Supporting our LMH team means supporting a need for vaccines. “
Dr. Michael Zabel, a cardiologist, said supporting the request shows patients that the system cares about their best interests.
“As always, we are committed to protecting our patients in every possible way – that is exactly what we do when our employees, providers and employees are vaccinated,” said Dr. Zabel. “Vaccinated people are less likely to get seriously ill when they become infected with COVID. Compulsory vaccination will not only benefit the few currently unvaccinated people who are now receiving the vaccine, it will also help our teams be able to take care of our community as we face this evolving situation . “
According to the LMH, employees must be vaccinated by November 21, and applications for medical or religious exceptions can be granted after checking by the employee health department or the human resources department. New employees and employees must be vaccinated within 30 days of being hired.
Dr. Zabel said he hoped the request sends a strong message.
“The people you rely on to ensure your safety and health firmly believe in the safety and benefits of the vaccine,” said Dr. Zabel. “There is no more effective way to convince our friends and neighbors to get vaccinated than by setting a good example. Given that we have over 30,000 eligible, unvaccinated Douglas County citizens, we have a moral obligation to be role models both as individuals and as an institution. “
All three vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective in extensive clinical studies, according to the health system. Almost 200 million Americans have received at least one dose without major complications.
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