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Four hospital CEOs talk about vaccine numbers among staff

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 2:14 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -Staffing is a challenge for many hospitals especially with the vaccine mandate. WAGM recently spoke with the four CEOs of the local hospitals and asked them what vaccine numbers look like among their staff.

Kris Doody Cary Medical Center says “The majority of our staff are vaccinated. They chose to, at the very beginning, when it was available, when healthcare workers were prioritized. So it’s the majority of them that are already vaccinated. And, I agree with Greg that, they feel it’s part of their, their responsibility as a clinician to be responsible to the patients and the people that we serve. And they feel that healthcare providers should be vaccinated.”

Peter Sirois, the CEO of Northern Maine Medical Center says, “It’s definitely a small majority of people. That’s still in our workforce that believes that this is, not right. They most, I’d say 95% of hotline hire believe this is the right thing to do. There are some that are pretty strong in their feelings and beliefs that we have to respect. But definitely the majority knows that this is the right thing.”

Kris Doody adds, “It’s interesting too Kelly, because, I’ve had some folks who are still either on the fence or are deciding whether or not to be vaccinated and say, Kris, it’s not about getting the vaccine, you know, I’ll get it. But I don’t want to be told I have to get it. Well, you know, we have people to take care of. We have patients to take care of and if the majority of us, you know, recognize the value of it. And again, some of it is misinformation that’s out there or incorrect information. And unfortunately it puts people on the fence, but again, it’s like Pete said, it’s the minority.”

Shawn Anderson from Houlton Regional Hospital says “I think it’s fair to say. As, as hospitals, we would have done just about anything, not to have this mandated, ifwe could have accomplished this, on our own, to step up and get vaccinated, at very, very high levels across hospitals, I don’t think we would have found ourselves in this place.”

Peter Sirois adds, “Well, look at it, Shawn you’re right, because we did it with the flu shot. We started off with, you know, 43% of our staff vaccinated with flu. And over time, we’ve gotten a lot of places up in the nineties without the mandate. Now it’s mandated as well, but there is a ways of doing it, altogether, if we all stick together.”

Greg LaFrancois from Northern Light AR Gould says, “There is, although I’ll tell you, it demonstrates strong leadership at the state level that they mandated it. I know it’s not popular. And sometimes leaders have to make unpopular decisions and, this was necessary because we don’t have the luxury of time with this. With this, we needed support to get our staff vaccinated. It’s just too important. If it wasn’t mandated, I would have wanted to mandate it, anyhow. I did not want unvaccinated people working in our facility. It’s too dangerous.”

Finally, Shawn Anderson added that he “couldn’t agree more.”

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