In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and recent rise in cases on the Eastern Shore of Virginia due to the Delta variant, Eastern Shore Rural Health System, Inc. is requiring all employees to be vaccinated against COVID.
Employees are to receive at least the first dose of a mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) by Oct. 1, 2021, and to have an appropriately scheduled appointment to receive their second dose, unless an exception is granted for medical or religious reasons.
“Vaccination is our most important tool in protecting the health and safety of our organization, our patients and our community,” said Rural Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joan Lingen. Dr. Lingen, who joined Rural Health in 2006, recently assumed the CMO role.
A fully approved vaccine is now available to Rural Health employees. On Aug. 23, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fully approved the Pfizer vaccine for individuals 16 years of age and older. The Pfizer vaccine continues to be available under FDA emergency use authorization for people 12 through 15 years of age and for third doses in certain immunocompromised individuals. The Moderna vaccine is available to individuals age 18 and older through FDA emergency use authorization.
Numerous national and Virginia medical associations are supporting vaccine requirements for all health care workers including these Virginia groups listed in a joint statement issued July 21: Medical Society of Virginia, the Virginia Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists, the Virginia Association of Community-Based Providers, the Virginia Association of Community Services Boards Inc., the Virginia Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, the Virginia Association for Hospices and Palliative Care, the Virginia
Association of School Nurses, the Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Virginia Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, the Virginia Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, the Virginia College of Emergency Physicians, the Virginia Community Healthcare Association, the Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners, the Virginia Counselors Association, the Virginia Dermatology Society, the Virginia Health Care Foundation, the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association, the Virginia Network of Private Providers Inc., the Virginia Nurses Association, the Virginia Orthopaedic Society, the Virginia Pharmacists Association, the Virginia Podiatric Medical Association, the Virginia Radiological Society, the Virginia Rural Health Association, the Virginia Section of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Virginia Society of Anesthesiologists, and the Virginia Society of Rheumatology.