The timeline for meeting this requirement will be November 1, 2021, or 60 days after full FDA approval of one of the vaccines—whichever is sooner.
Glenmeadow’s revision of its COVID-19 vaccination requirements is consistent with the organization’s mission of providing premier services for older adults, nurturing mind, body, and spirit, according to Glenmeadow President and CEO Anne Thomas. “As an organization that holds itself accountable for the well-being of all the people whose lives we touch, it is our responsibility to do everything possible to protect ourselves and those in our care,” said Thomas.
She pointed out that nearly 80 percent of the 600,000-plus COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. were in people 65 and older. “The rate of COVID-19 infection is rising in all states, including Massachusetts,” she said. “The new Delta variant is very dangerous, spreads rapidly, and is highly contagious. Current infection rates, and those being hospitalized, are overwhelmingly in unvaccinated people.”
Glenmeadow joins with other local, regional, and national organizations that are requiring their employees to become vaccinated. In January, February, and March, Glenmeadow partnered with CVS for three priority in-house vaccination clinics for residents and team members, and the nonprofit Life Plan Community provides employees with vaccination opportunities on paid time—including free transportation to a vaccination site.
Glenmeadow has also made it a priority to educate employees on the importance, effectiveness, and safety of the vaccines. Side effects for most are mild, but team members who receive the vaccine through September 30, 2021 may be eligible for paid leave to recover from any condition related to vaccination.
“Beginning in March 2020, and throughout the pandemic, we have all worked together to keep everyone in this community safe,” said Thomas. Glenmeadow has followed recommended protocols from the CDC, the Department of Public Health, and the Executive Office of Elder Affairs in an effort to prevent illness. Since vaccines have been available, every Glenmeadow resident and over 80 percent of employees have become fully vaccinated.
“It is time now for the remaining unvaccinated to step up and do their part to protect residents, clients, and our fellow employees,” said Thomas.
Glenmeadow’s vaccination policy does allow limited exemptions. Pregnant employees may apply for a deferral. Team members with medical or sincerely held religious objections may apply for an exemption by October 1, 2021. Those with approved exemptions or deferral status must wear a mask at all times when they are with other people and will be subject to COVID testing.