Area hospitals plan to comply with vaccine mandate

Two area hospitals are announcing their plans to comply with a federal mandate on COVID-19 vaccination for staff.

Columbus Regional Health and Schneck Medical Center in Seymour issued a joint statement today, saying that they intend to comply with the mandate from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid that requires all healthcare facilities workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Members of the workforce must receive their single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or the first dose of the Moderna and Pfizer two-dose vaccines by December 5th. The second dose must be taken by January 4th.

The workforce includes hospital employees, licensed practitioners, students, trainees, volunteers, and individuals who provide care, treatment, or other services for hospitals or patients under contract or other agreement.

Employees can also show proof of a valid exemption from receiving the vaccine.

The majority of patients served by Columbus Regional Health and Schneck Medical Center are covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

Dr. Eric Fish, president and CEO of Schneck, said that the vaccines are safe and effective. He said that COVID-19 vaccines cannot make you sick with the virus and they do not contain the virus that causes COVID-19.

He urged everyone to “Protect yourself. Protect your loved ones. Protect your community.”

The hospitals said that they are working to achieve compliance with the mandate. Both facilities are committed to ongoing communication and transparency with the patients and communities, as well as employees.