On Thursday, December 17, as part of North Country Healthcare’s (NCH) commitment to best ensure the health and wellbeing of our communities, NCH hospitals (Androscoggin Valley Hospital, Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital, Weeks Medical Center) began administering COVID-19 vaccines to a number of its employees who wished to receive it. A limited supply of the vaccine is being sent to each facility semi-weekly. Administration to the NCH employees requesting it is anticipated to take a number of weeks, and will be managed in a manner consistent with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.
Based on the COVID-19 Allocation Guidelines for Phase 1a from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (NHDHHS), NCH and its affiliates have reviewed all staff based on job responsibilities, and assigned each individual to one of three risk categories:
Most Risk: Front line clinical staff who provide direct patient care and support staff with risk of exposure to bodily fluids or aerosols
Moderate risk: Staff who have indirect or limited patient contact
Least risk: Administrative or other staff with no expected routine patient contact
NCH and its affiliates make no distinction regarding priority among physicians, nurses, other clinicians, and support staff (e.g., housekeeping, food services, registration) who are at risk of exposure to the virus. After allocating each employee into one of the three risk categories above, each employee who has chosen to be vaccinated is assigned a number based on CDC medical risk factors and age.
The initial allotment of the vaccine was received in New Hampshire earlier this week. That allotment was then disbursed to several regions of the State, including Coos County. Initial doses are part of the
Phase 1a vaccination plan which incorporates at-risk health workers, older adults in residential care
settings, and first responders. Subsequent vaccination beyond Phase 1a will occur as supplies allow.
The vaccine, which is administered as two injections three or four weeks apart, dependent on the brand
received, is part of NCH’s ongoing effort to reduce transmission of the virus which has recently spiked in
Northern New Hampshire.
“Vaccination of our employees is a critical step in significantly reducing COVID-19 transmission,”
commented Tom Mee, RN, BSN, MBA, Chief Executive Officer. “I applaud everyone within our
organization who has worked so diligently in the planning and execution of this historic action.
For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit:
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html
The NH Department of Health and Human Services website:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration