In response to recent State and Federal vaccination mandates for healthcare workers, Island Hospital’s leadership team announced a goal of achieving a 100% vaccinated workforce.
While the overwhelming majority of employed staff and privileged providers of Island Hospital are already vaccinated, there are several staff members who have either not declared intent or have not submitted vaccination records. Island Hospital leadership is working closely with these individuals to determine each staff member’s intentions as the October 18 deadline, set by Governor Inslee, approaches. Exemptions will be considered by an internal Vaccination Review Committee upon written submission of a medical disability or religious request. Approval of an exemption request does not guarantee an accommodation can be offered nor does it guarantee continued employment, as accommodations may create undue burden on the organization.
“COVID-19 vaccinations save lives, help prevent severe illness and hospitalizations, and lower your risk of death. Safety of our patients and our staff is always our top priority,” said Island Hospital CEO, Charles Hall, RN, MSN, MBA.
Since July 2021, approximately 60 medical groups have endorsed mandatory, universal vaccination of all public and private healthcare and long-term care workers, noting that such a requirement is the “fulfillment of the ethical commitment of all healthcare workers to put patients as well as residents of long-term care facilities first and take all steps necessary to ensure their health and well-being” (Proclamation by the Governor: COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement August 9, 2021). These organizations include:
- American College of Physicians
- American Hospital Association
- American Nurses Association
- American Academy of Physician Assistants
- American Academy of Family Physicians
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- American Medical Association
- National Medical Association
- American Public Health Association
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
- Society of Infectious Disease Pharmacists
- Infectious Diseases Society of America
- National Hispanic Medical Association
- Society of Healthcare Epidemiologist of America
- Washington State Society of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine
- Association of Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology
Recent statistics indicate the successful use of vaccination. In the Washington State Department of Health COVID-19 report dated August 25, 2021, increasing vaccination rates is the most important tool we have to ultimately decrease the number of COVID-19 cases that lead to hospitalization and death.
The Washington State report found the following:
– 92.7% of positive COVID-19 cases from February 1 – August 16, 2021 were in unvaccinated individuals.
– 94.1% of hospitalizations from February 1 – August 9, 2021 were in unvaccinated individuals.
– 92.4% of COVID-19 deaths from February 1 – July 26, 2021 were in unvaccinated individuals.
Island Hospital hopes to retain all staff members in order to continue delivering the highest quality care in our community; however, unvaccinated staff members will be terminated on October 19 without sufficient proof of immunization. Island Hospital’s Board of Commissioners, senior leadership team and provider leadership team are committed to achieving a 100% vaccinated workforce to help protect our patients and staff. This commitment will help to ensure our focus remains on eliminating conditions that cause harm to patients, clinical providers, staff and our community.
With a healthcare staff shortage looming both regionally and nationally, Island Hospital carefully monitors resources and demands on a daily basis. Services may need to be reduced if staffing does not allow for safe delivery of care.
This unpredictable COVID-19 pandemic crisis is far from over. Island Hospital believes that COVID-19 immunization, masking, and wise decision making saves lives, prevents severe illness and hospitalization, and lowers your risk of dying from COVID-19.