OHC is committed to providing the highest quality care in the safest possible environment for patients. As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise and we face the Delta variant, OHC leadership is requiring that all OHC patient-facing staff members get vaccinated by October 31, 2021. We will make exemptions available to employees with medical contraindications to the COVID vaccine and/or a religious reason. We believe this is in the best interest of our patients and staff because:
- The Pfizer vaccine received full U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval on August 23, 2021.
- The vaccine has proven to reduce the spread and practically eliminate severe cases of COVID.
- Many immunosuppressed cancer patients are more susceptible to COVID complications and may not mount effective immune responses to vaccination.
- Our staff works in close proximity with each other and many team members are in the high-risk category.
Most major health systems in the state are also requiring staff to get vaccinated. Furthermore, on August 19, 2021, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) COVID-19 Vaccination Advisory Committee announced that it fully supports vaccine mandates for healthcare workers. The NCCN, whose mission is to improve and facilitate quality, effective, efficient, and accessible care so cancer patients can live better lives, organized this committee to develop guidance for COVID vaccination among cancer patients.
We have provided helpful COVID information on the homepage of our website, ohcare.com. We will continue to follow vaccine-related developments from state and federal agencies and share updated information as it becomes available. Following is some helpful information on commonly asked questions.
- Is the COVID vaccine effective? Vaccines will not prevent COVID 100% of the time. They prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death. Additionally, among the fully or partially vaccinated, the vaccines make people more likely to have milder and shorter illness compared to those who are unvaccinated.
- Do vaccines offer protection against the Delta variant? Data is evolving, but experts believe that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are approximately 65-95% effective. They do appear to offer protection against serious illness and hospitalization.
- Is a booster shot necessary? From the outset of vaccination, the CDC stated that re-vaccination or a booster shot was highly likely. On August 12, 2021, the FDA authorized both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for a third shot for those who are immunocompromised; however, we anticipate a recommendation for the general public to receive a booster is on the horizon. For more information on the booster, visit our link.
We understand that the vaccination issue is multi-faceted. We always have the health and safety of our patients at the forefront of our minds, and we are confident that requiring vaccinations for staff members involved in patient care adds another layer of protection from the virus. For additional information on COVID and the vaccine, view the resources on our homepage at ohcare.com or call us at 1-888-649-4800.
D. Randolph Drosick, MD