By Shelley Farrington Lincoln News • August 5, 2021
MILLINOCKET – Keeping patient and staff safety the highest priority, Millinocket Regional Hospital CEO Robert Peterson, D. Sc., FACHE announced last week that the hospital will require all staff be vaccinated against COVID-19 once the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) lifts its emergency approval for final approval which may happen as early as this fall.
Peterson has said the best weapon against the coronavirus is a vaccination, masking, washing hands and maintaining social distancing and MRH already boasts a 94.67 percent staff vaccination rate, the best among hospitals in the state, so the requirement of a Moderna or Pfizer vaccination is another step in working for the safest environment possible for patients and staff alike.
“Millinocket Regional Hospital is committed to providing a safe working environment for all employees and the safest environment possible for patients to receive care,” said Peterson. “This commitment to safety requires that difficult decisions be made to assure these goals are met.
“Due to the severity of the delta variant of the coronavirus, the resurgence of the pandemic both locally and nationwide, and the growing backlog of evidence that the current vaccines are safe and effective, Millinocket Regional Hospital will require all staff to receive the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine upon final approval by the FDA. All staff will be required to be fully vaccinated within six weeks of final FDA approval,” he continued.
MRH has hosted numerous vaccination clinics in the Katahdin region in helping push the local vaccination rate to over 75 percent. In addition the hospital’s walk-in clinic in East Millinocket is also offering appointments for the Moderna vaccination on Tuesdays and Thursdays of each week. Appointments can be made through the MRH website at www.mrhme.org/getvax.
Recent COVID-19 outbreaks in the region underline the continued need for a push for vaccinations said MRH Infection Preventionist Todd Phillips, RN, BSN.
“Although we have seen a few breakthrough cases from those who have received the vaccine, over 90 percent of all infections locally are as a result of those who are not vaccinated,” Phillips said. “The goal is to reassure our staff and our community that our dedication to their safety while providing quality healthcare is a priority.”
Recently the Maine Hospital Association and the Maine State Nurses Union have publicly supported MRH’s actions, according to Phillips.
Earlier this week Northern Light Medical followed MRH’s lead and announced it will require its employees to be vaccinated within six weeks of the formal approval of the COVID-19 vaccines by the FDA.