MaineHealth announced Aug. 3 it will require COVID-19 vaccination for all care team members as a condition of employment. The new rule, which will have few exceptions including consideration for medical and religious exemptions, will go into effect Oct.1.
The MaineHealth system is the largest employer in Maine and joins dozens of hospitals and health systems, along with some government and non-healthcare private employers, in a public health effort to limit spread of COVID-19, especially in light of the growing threat of the Delta variant.
“The vaccines are very effective, and are preventing hospitalizations and health complications with COVID-19. In addition, the vaccines are proven safe – we have a full year of data from the clinical trials and almost 200 million Americans have received a COVID-19 vaccination,” said Dora-Anne Mills M.D., chief health improvement officer of MaineHealth. “To be consistent with our values and to protect our colleagues, families, patients and communities, we believe it is paramount that all care team members be vaccinated.”
Having broad vaccination is especially necessary to protect those who are vulnerable, including unvaccinated children and the immunocompromised. That is why many health care and long-term care organizations already require vaccinations for COVID-19, along with influenza, pertussis and chickenpox. As of late July, 83.8 percent of all MaineHealth care team members were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Said Mills, “Our care team members have worked extremely hard and have sacrificed much in the fight against COVID-19, and we thank them profoundly. As we ask all our care team members to be vaccinated, I’d ask all Mainers to please, please get your COVID-19 vaccination. It will protect you, your family and your community.”