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Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society announced a vaccination mandate for all employees.  Good Samaritan is the largest non-profit multi-site senior care organization based on nursing care in the 2020.

Randy Bury, president and CEO of Good Samaritan discussed the decision with McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. He insists the policy will help the chain attract and retain staff, protect residents and relieve their families.

“The biggest concern right away is staffing. You keep hearing, ‘What if they leave you?’ and all that boogeyman stuff. But there’s a flip side to that, and I’ve seen it in my emails this week. There’s vaccinated staff who are very, very happy that we’re mandating this so they don’t have to worry about being the next breakthrough case or taking the virus home to their kids.”

Good Samaritan reported more than 90% of its clinicians and 70% of nurses organization-wide had already been vaccinated. Bury said that rate was just 58% among skilled nursing employees. Meanwhile, cases surge.

Employees will have until Nov. 1 to get vaccinated, and the organization will grant religious and medical exemptions. That deadline aligns with annual flu vaccine requirements and also gives the organization more time to educate and motivate reluctant employees.

American Hospital Association supports providers “that adopt mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies for healthcare personnel, with local factors and circumstances shaping whether and how these policies are implemented.”

The cause of these problems is the share of Americans who are unvaccinated — about one third of those eligible. The biggest costs of their refusal fall directly on them: They are risking their lives.