BANGOR — Monday Northern Light Health announced they will require all staff to get their COVID-19 vaccination. Today they talked about how they plan to make that happen.
“With regard to employees who choose not to be vaccinated and are not provided or approved with an exemption they would be removed from the schedule and not permitted to work,” said Paul Bolin, human resources vice president of Northern Light Health.
He said each religious and medical reason will be taken into account on a case by case basis.
“Immunizations for many many years in health care have required certain vaccines and immunizations to be in place for a person to start employment in a health care setting, COVID will be added to that long list of appropriate vaccines for people to start,” said Bolin.
Northern Light Health officials said they are waiting for the emergency use authorization under the FDA to be lifted.
Dr. Navneet Marwaha of internal medicine at Northern Light Health and Bolin said once the vaccine is fully approved by the FDA, employees will have six weeks to get vaccinated.
“Those who do have an exemption both medical or religious would be required to get tested for COVID twice per week throughout the pandemic until the CDC declares the pandemic to be over,” said Bolin.
“So our strategy is really to try to understand the reasons for vaccine hesitancy and there isn’t one. We are making sure that we are providing the best information so that patients, employees, communities, and everybody are making a well informed decision,” said Dr. Marwaha.
“So the decision to require vaccination of our employees has been one that’s been made over many weeks,” said Bolin.
Dr. Marwaha said they have put leading experts in different areas to address any concerns workers and families have. Bolin said he expects the FDA will fully approve the vaccinations soon and employees will need to get vaccinated.