Memorial Healthcare System is strongly encouraging its employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and is providing incentives to motivate the approximately 39% of its workforce that has to date not done so.
The Hollywood-based provider, which operates six hospitals and numerous care facilities in South Florida, has set a deadline of October 1, 2021 for current employees and new hires to get one of the three, widely-available vaccines. While it stops short of terminating those who refuse the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson product, those employees will be required to abide by additional safety precautions that govern masking and meeting attendance to protect fellow caregivers from possible exposure to COVID-19’s highly contagious Delta variant.
“With this mandate, we are joining leading healthcare organizations in the U.S., including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Medical Association, American Nursing Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, and more than 1,500 hospitals that support mandatory vaccination,” said Memorial Healthcare System President and CEO Aurelio M. Fernandez, III, FACHE. “It’s the only way to overcome COVID-19 and resume a safe and normal way of life.”
In an effort to ensure 100% participation, Memorial will award a $150 recognition bonus to employees that are fully vaccinated by October 1. Additionally, each staffer is eligible to receive another $100 if the team they are part of is 85% vaccinated by the deadline. Those with medical or religious reasons may be exempt from vaccination, but would still have to comply with the stricter requirements for the unvaccinated that include wearing a mask at all times on Memorial property, virtual meeting attendance, and strict restriction from eating
in indoor, public spaces at healthcare facilities.
The vaccination mandate comes amid the latest surge of COVID cases at Memorial hospitals, with close to 700 patients, and statistics that show nearly all those in COVID units nationwide are unvaccinated. “This fourth and most dangerous COVID-19 surge was entirely preventable and, looking ahead, we can halt this pandemic if everyone in our communities gets vaccinated,” said Dr. Marc Napp, chief medical officer for Memorial Healthcare System.
In correspondence to employees explaining the vaccination mandate, Memorial mentions that more than 4.5 billion doses have been administered worldwide after extensive testing in clinical trials. All three of the vaccine products have proven to be effective at preventing coronavirus-associated illness, hospitalization, and death. While there have been a limited number of “breakthrough” infections among the fully-vaccinated, those individuals usually experience significantly milder cases and avoid hospitalization. “If you have not yet been vaccinated, I urge you to do it right away for your own well-being, that of your loved ones, and our patients,” said Fernandez.