Glens Falls Hospital announced today that all employees are required to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. The policy extends to physicians, nurses, support staff, contractors and all colleagues with clinical or nonclinical responsibilities. The vaccines have proven to safely and effectively reduce the rates of serious COVID-19 infections and reduce the risk of hospitalizations and death in breakthrough cases. Yet as the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus spreads, broad vaccination has become even more critical, especially for those who work in health care settings.
Glens Falls Hospital held its first COVID-19 Vaccine clinic on December 23, 2020 and has vaccinated a total of 5,362 individuals (employees and community members). Since December, Glens Falls Hospital has offered the vaccine to every member of its workforce, and today, more than 86 percent of all employees are fully vaccinated.
Dianne Shugrue, President and CEO of Glens Falls Hospital says that, “We have undergone extensive and careful consideration of requiring our team to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our patients, staff and community.” She adds, “The vaccine requirement aligns Glens Falls Hospital with the Albany Medical Health System’s mission to provide quality care and prioritization of safety for our patients, colleagues and community. The effects of this pandemic have been devastating, but the hope of moving forwarding towards a better tomorrow, starts with the vaccine.”
Employees must be fully vaccinated by October 1, 2021. Those not fully vaccinated will need to complete weekly testing until coverage is complete. If booster shots are deemed necessary, those will be required at the appropriate time. Exemptions and deferrals may be approved on a limited basis. Any employee who does not receive an exemption or deferral, or show proof of vaccination, will be terminated from the organization. Those meeting the limited exemptions and deferrals will be required to undergo regular weekly COVID-19 testing for the duration of deferral or exemption.
In a Glens Falls Hospital community education seminar hosted by Hillary Alycon, MPH, CIC Director of Infection Prevention and Control, she stated, “People need to be very confident in the safety and effectiveness of these vaccines. There is no live virus present in the vaccine, only what is known as the messenger or mRNA spike protein, so it is impossible for the vaccine to cause COVID-19 or harm our DNA. When we take the vaccine, we begin to develop antibodies that recognize these spike proteins which are on the outside of the COVID-19 virus. This builds up our immunity and will help keep us safe from the disease.”
Vaccine clinics continue to be scheduled regularly throughout the area. You can find a nearby location by visiting www.vaccines.gov, a website which also contains comprehensive information about the vaccine, answers to common questions and educational materials.