Chelsea Jewish Lifecare was the first to announce it would require all employees to be vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus, an effort to boost vaccination levels higher to keep staff and patients more safe. Legacy Lifecare President Adam Berman said they knew they had to do something to get rates – which were pretty high after a robust vaccination campaign in February and March – even higher through their network.
“There’s a mixture of reasons people don’t get vaccinated,” he said. “Contrary to popular belief, it’s not because a majority of people are against the vaccine. It’s about education and about the fact that some have had COVID in the past and that offers some immunity. We know the vaccine is still necessary even for those folks. The requirement puts it to the forefront even more so than before. In the first week of the requirement, our numbers doubled. We knew this would increase things and it got it over the top.” He said they have more than 75 percent of employees vaccinated and had a 20 percent increase after the mandate. “I wasn’t anticipating that within a week we would have seen our percentage points increase the way they did,” he said. Chelsea Jewish Lifecare, with campuses in Chelsea and Peabody, announced the mandate just prior to the July 4 holiday.
“Our top priority is always the health of our residents and our staff,” said Berman. “With over 323 million doses administered in the United States, the COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to be both safe and effective. After consulting with experts and careful consideration, we feel strongly that requiring staff to be vaccinated is the most important action we can do to ensure the safety of our long-term care communities.” Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is now a condition of employment for all staff members and volunteers, with exemptions limited to religious and medical reasons. This is consistent with the network’s approach to the flu vaccine. Since last December when vaccines were first made available to health care workers, Chelsea Jewish Lifecare and Legacy Lifecare have conducted an extensive education campaign titled “Superheroes Saving Lives”.
Over 75% of the approximately 1800 employees throughout the Legacy Lifecare network are currently vaccinated, achieving the national goal for long-term care providers. To further prepare for this mandate, senior leadership will continue to offer comprehensive information about vaccine safety and efficacy, including encouraging employees to ask questions and addressing concerns on a one-on-one basis. In addition, all campuses will offer on-site vaccination clinics to facilitate meeting this important requirement. The organization thanked its employees for their incredible dedication, loyalty, courage, and compassion. “COVID-19 has been devastating, especially for those of us who care for the most vulnerable,” said Berman. “I am so proud of our staff and how they have persevered throughout these challenging times. They are the real heroes in this story.” Berman noted that the organization did not make the vaccine mandate decision lightly. “Simply put, implementing this mandate is the only way we can fully protect our staff and our residents,” said Berman. “I absolutely believe it’s the right decision for us