The vaccination mandate, which begins Nov. 1, is part of the Ministry’s efforts to keep residents and associates safe as COVID-19 cases increase.
As part of a deep-rooted commitment to prioritizing resident and associate health and safety, Franciscan Ministries announced today that the Ministry will adopt a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for all employees.
Franciscan Ministries, which operates long-term care communities throughout the Midwest, joins a growing list of leading healthcare organizations, associations and senior living operators mandating COVID-19 vaccinations among their associates.
“Senior living providers play a unique role in the fight against COVID-19,” said Franciscan Ministries President and CEO Judy Amiano. “Our ultimate duty is to protect the health and safety of our residents and our associates, and I believe that our residents have a right to expect healthcare workers have taken the steps necessary to minimize the risk of infection, including vaccination.”
The vaccination requirement is the latest safety layer to be introduced by the Ministry. When COVID-19 vaccines became available last year, Franciscan Communities opened vaccination clinics that achieved great success with a 94 percent vaccination rate among residents and more than 75 percent of associates receiving the vaccine as well.
As infection rates dropped nationwide, so did vaccination rates. With the emergence of the Delta and other COVID-19 variants that put high-risk populations, including older adults served by Franciscan Communities, in danger, the Ministry’s leadership believes now is the time to take action.
“The increasing infection rate puts too many people at risk and threatens to undo much of the great work we’ve done to help keep COVID-19 out of our communities,” Amiano explained in an announcement to employees. “We must all do our part. We believe that being vaccinated is an extension of the commitment we have as a Ministry – to always put those we serve first.”
The mandate, which has been under review by the Ministry for some time, is consistent with President Biden’s declaration that all long-term care employees are required to be vaccinated to protect older adults who have been devastated by the virus. Last week, the Food and Drug Administration also granted full approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
A timeline for employee vaccination at Franciscan Communities has been established with all unvaccinated associates being required to receive their first dose by Nov. 1 and their second dose by Dec. 1. Medical and religious exceptions will be reviewed.
Communities managed by Franciscan Advisory Services, including Astral at Auburn in Auburn, Ind., and Rivertown Ridge in Wyoming, Mich., will also mandate employee vaccinations. Franciscan Advisory Services is a division of Franciscan Ministries.
For more information on Franciscan Ministries, call (800) 524-6126 or visit the Ministry website.