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New COVID-19 Vaccination Policy For Employees

Albany, GA | August 5, 2021 –  Effective Oct. 4, 2021, any Phoebe employees who are not fully-vaccinated against COVID-19 must report each week for testing to confirm they are not infected with the coronavirus.

“Our leadership team did not come to this decision lightly.  It is our responsibility to put safety first and do all we can to protect our patients, visitors and staff, and if we are to live up to that responsibility, that means requiring employee vaccinations,” said Scott Steiner, Phoebe Putney Heath System President & CEO. 

The policy change comes as a fourth major wave of COVID-19 cases rages across southwest Georgia.  “COVID-19 cases are increasing rapidly in communities throughout our region and among our employees, especially in those who have not been vaccinated.  While around 56% of our Phoebe Family have already done their part and have been fully vaccinated, too many of our team members remain unvaccinated.  We must increase our vaccination rate quickly to protect our patients, employees and anyone else entering our healthcare facilities,” Steiner added.

Dozens of leading national medical organizations representing millions of healthcare professionals – including the American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, National Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians and American Nurses Association – support a vaccination requirement for all health workers.  Many other health systems in Georgia and around the country have already instituted similar policies, and the Medical Executive Committees at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital and Phoebe Sumter Medical Center voted unanimously in favor of instituting the vaccination requirement.

“We know some of our team members are reluctant to get their COVID-19 vaccine, but the truth is the vaccines are safe and effective,” said Dianna Grant, MD, Phoebe Putney Health System Chief Medical Officer.  “While no vaccine prevents 100% of infections, the COVID-19 vaccines do a very good job of preventing infection and are shown to protect against serious illness and death.  The research also shows significant side effects are extremely rare.  Over the coming weeks, we will host town hall meetings with employees to answer their questions and address their concerns as we encourage them to get vaccinated,” Dr. Grant said.

Phoebe employees are already required to receive other vaccinations, including an annual flu shot.  “Vaccines are nothing new for healthcare workers.  For many years, it has been standard procedure for hospitals to immunize their workers against the flu every year and to ensure they have been vaccinated against other illnesses such as hepatitis and chickenpox.  It’s how we have always protected workers and patients, and the COVID-19 vaccine is just another added layer of protection,” Dr. Grant said.