Citing its relentless commitment to end the pandemic by slowing the spread of disease, preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death, MemorialCare announced it is requiring all staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and urged continued widespread vaccinations among the public as well.
“MemorialCare has been unwavering in championing vaccinations as the most effective way to end this pandemic that has taken so much from so many,” says Barry Arbuckle, Ph.D., President & CEO of MemorialCare that includes 225 community-based health care locations as well as MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center and Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach.
In making this decision, Arbuckle cites the alarming increases in COVID-19 admissions in recent weeks with well over 90 percent of hospitalized patients being unvaccinated. The aggressive rate of infection from the Delta variant is another factor in more health care systems and medical organizations taking this next step. In addition to hundreds of hospitals beginning to require team member vaccinations, recently almost 60 major medical organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association, jointly advocated for mandatory vaccination of all health care workers and encouraged other employers across the country to follow their lead and implement effective policies to encourage vaccination.
“Thanks to success of our continued education and staff engagement, we’re proud to have among the nation’s highest number of vaccinated employees,” says Arbuckle. “To secure a deep and lasting impact, it is critical to have everyone on board. Our communities, patients, families and local businesses depend upon us to ensure the highest quality, safest and healthiest environment. We owe that same obligation to our employees and physicians.”
“As health care providers, we’ve experienced the devastating impact of this disease first-hand,” says Mark Schafer, M.D., CEO, MemorialCare Medical Foundation, which oversees the health system’s physician division consisting of MemorialCare Medical Group and Greater Newport Physicians. “The fight against COVID-19 is not over. We must continue to be vigilant in taking every measure possible to protect our team members, patients and communities and ensure the safest care environment.”
MemorialCare has set a target date of Sept. 30, 2021 for all unvaccinated workers and medical staff members to become fully vaccinated for COVID-19, or to apply for and receive a medical or religious exemption or deferral.