Sanford Health Media Relations
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit providers for senior care and services, which is part of Sanford Health, recently announced that the COVID-19 vaccine will be required for all employees at its more than 200 locations across 24 states.
“As caregivers, we have a responsibility to protect the most vulnerable,” said Randy Bury, president and CEO of the Good Samaritan Society. “The virus is still a very real threat. More contagious variants continue to spread in our communities, and we must do all we can to keep our residents, staff and their families safe. Our nation’s seniors and the healthcare heroes working on the front lines who care for them have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, and this vaccine is our way out. It’s saving lives.”
According to the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), nursing homes across the U.S. saw a 96% decline in COVID cases less than three months after initial doses were administered to nursing home residents and staff starting on Dec. 20, 2020. COVID-related deaths in nursing homes declined 91% in the same timeframe.
“With every dose administered, our residents and communities are safer,” said Dr. Gregory Johnson, chief medical officer for the Good Samaritan Society. “The overwhelming data confirms that the vaccines are not only safe, but the best and most reliable way to prevent transmission of the virus. We are grateful to our caregivers who have been leading by example by choosing to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others,” said Dr. Johnson.
Bury added: “We believe our vaccine requirement for employees will attract more job candidates who want to work in the safest possible environment. This level of protection brings with it peace of mind and less uncertainty about being exposed and bringing COVID home to family and loved ones.”
Good Samaritan Society employees are already required to have several other vaccines including the annual flu shot. Under the new policy, any COVID-19 vaccine received in the past 12 months will qualify for the 2021 requirement. Unvaccinated employees can get their COVID-19 vaccination at any time but must report it by Nov. 1. All unvaccinated employees are encouraged to get their shots as soon as possible. As with other vaccines, the Good Samaritan Society will allow certain exemptions for medical or religious reasons.
On Monday, more than 50 major medical groups issued a joint statement advocating for health care and long-term care employers to require COVID-19 vaccinations to protect the health and safety of patients, long-term care residents, workers, families and communities.
About the Good Samaritan Society
The Good Samaritan Society is one of the largest not-for-profit providers for senior care and services in the United States with more than 200 locations in 24 states. Its services include senior living, long-term care, rehabilitation therapy, home-based services and more. For nearly 100 years, the organization has been dedicated to sharing God’s love through the work of health, healing and comfort. Learn more about the Good Samaritan Society at good-sam.com.