Central Virginia Health Services, Inc., which operates the Health and Wellness Center in the town of Louisa, said it will require all employees who are not exempt for medical or religious reasons to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
"This is an extremely difficult decision to make knowing that some of our staff may chose to leave over this requirement," said Dr. Randall Bashore, the organization's medical director. "However, CVHS desires to provide high quality health care, which starts with a safe patient care environment. A fully vaccinated staff makes it safer for our patients and community."
CVHS operates 18 clinical practice sites throughout the central part of Virginia. Over the past year it has invested in equipment, protective gear, and remote monitoring devices for patients with chronic diseases and acute illnesses or COVID.
"COVID has impacted every aspect of our organization – we have watched staff battle COVID, supported staff as they balanced work and child care, and even grieved alongside our fellow coworkers as they lost family members, friends, and neighbors,” said Paula Tomko, CVHS chief executive officer. “We don’t take the ‘community health’ part of our mission lightly. We feel that encouraging the vaccine demonstrates our commitment to the community as leaders in health care and our concern for our patients, staff, and the communities in which we serve."
Research has shown that COVID vaccines significantly reduce the number of hospitalizations and severe illness among vaccinated individuals who test positive for COVID-19.
"Although there are many unknowns, what we do know is that this virus is contagious; often times even before one begins to show symptoms," CVHS said in a prepared statement. "We know that many people will contract the virus and not get terribly ill but we also know you may inadvertently share that virus with someone not as lucky as you. We know that some of our staff and patients are not able to get the vaccine for medical and religious reasons and we know many of our staff have family members who may not be eligible for the vaccine because of health reasons or age. These situations are the same for our patients."
"Mandating COVID vaccinations helps provide reassurance that vaccines are safe and are a step in the right direction to help us get through this pandemic." Bashore said.