Sherrill House, a Jamaica Plain not-for-profit skilled nursing and rehabilitation center, recently announced that it will require all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as part of its efforts to ensure the health and safety of patients, residents and staff.
The vaccination requirement will go into effect once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration fully approves at least one of the currently available vaccines as expected later this year. The vaccines, shown to be safe and effective for millions of Americans, are currently used under the FDA’s emergency use authorization. Sherrill House employees will be able to request an exemption for medical and religious reasons.
“As an organization providing health care to a vulnerable population, we feel strongly that requiring our staff to be vaccinated from COVID-19 is another important step that we can take to ensure the health and safety of our entire community,” said Patrick J. Stapleton, CEO of Sherrill House. “We will continue our education process to address any questions that unvaccinated staff may have and will discuss any compliance or accommodation concerns they may have.”
The vast majority of Sherrill House employees are already vaccinated. To date, 85% of staff have received COVID-19 vaccine shots through on-site clinics held in early 2020 or through their own health care providers. That level of immunization is very high compared with the Massachusetts long-term care industry average of about 69%, as well as the rate for the general public, which is 47% nationally and 62% in Massachusetts.
“Sherrill House has a history of proactivity on public health initiatives,” said Stapleton. “Three years ago, our staff was required to get the flu vaccine – a full year prior to the vaccine being mandated by public health officials – and we are charting a similar path with the COVID-19 vaccine.”
The Sherrill House is a 196-bed, not-for-profit skilled nursing and rehabilitation center that provides short-term rehabilitation, traditional long-term care, hospice care and specialized care for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.