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NCH Statement - Employee Vaccination

North Country Healthcare (NCH), the Mission of which is to assure consistent, high quality, accessible, and integrated healthcare across the communities it serves, reminds our community members of the importance of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Administration of the vaccine remains the best method to reduce the transmission of the disease, which has seen an increase in both spread and significant illness as a result of the Delta Variant.

"At NCH, we recognize that some team members remain hesitant to receive the vaccine," commented Tom Mee, RN, BSN, MBA, North Country Healthcare CEO. "We will continue to provide resources to all of our stakeholders, including the opportunity for any employee to meet privately with medical providers who will be glad to address any questions or concerns regarding vaccine hesitancy in a confidential manner." Despite any such hesitancy, NCH remains committed to ensure that those being cared for in our facilities and homes are protected, as best able, from COVID-19. "To date, the COVID-19 vaccine, has played a pivotal role in preventing or decreasing the severity of the disease in those who have been vaccinated," continued Mee. "With 98.8% of recent COVID-19 cases being those of the Delta Variant it is increasingly critical that all eligible to receive the vaccine, do so."

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine received full Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval last month.

"On behalf of the NCH Board of Directors, I would like to thank all of our affiliate leadership, providers, nurses, and staff who have been so diligent in responsibly serving all patients, community members and visitors alike," commented Jim Hamblin, Board Chair. "To those members of our team who remain unvaccinated, I ask you to please consider receiving the vaccine in order to best protect yourself, your family members, and fellow employees."

Recent town hall forums which detailed the requirement of all NCH employees to receive the COVID-19 Vaccine were made available to all employees and held at all NCH affiliates, providing the opportunity for team members to answer questions and express concerns. Although a degree of opposition to an understandably controversial issue was expressed, that opposition has been exceeded by widespread support amongst employees, patients, and community members.

"As the dominant healthcare provider and largest employer in the North Country, NCH has a duty to lead by example," added Mee. "We will remain vigilant and continue to follow best practices as they relate to COVID-19 and the overall wellbeing of our community. Our stakeholders depend on, and trust, us to provide the safest environment possible. NCH will honor that commitment."

A strategy, which will ensure appropriate staffing following the October 22 deadline for employees to be vaccinated, has been developed and will be implemented accordingly. To date, more than 160 healthcare systems nationwide have required their employees to have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccinations are available throughout the North Country. For a list of locations and additional information, please visit northcountryhealth.org/SleeveUpNH

Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin NH North Country Home Health and Hospice Agency in Littleton NH Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital in Colebrook NH Weeks Medical Center in Lancaster NH