Concord Hospital to require COVID-19 vaccine for employees

  • Tim Cahill of stands in front of Concord Hospital with others as they protest mandated vaccines on Monday. He is among those who plan to be at the State House on Tuesday at 11 a.m. in protest. GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

  • Terese Grinnell hugs fellow protester John Caron in front of Concord Hospital as they protest mandated vaccines on Monday.

  • Terese Grinnell in front of Concord Hospital with others as they protest mandated vaccines on Monday, September 13, 2021. Grinnell, a registered nurse, is not going to get vaccinated the pair plan to be at the State House on Tuesday at 11 a.m. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 9/13/2021 5:31:39 PM

Concord Hospital will begin mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for its employees this fall, a spokesperson confirmed Monday. 

The healthcare organization, which employs thousands of Granite Staters in hospitals in Concord, Franklin and Laconia, sent out news of the mandate to employees through an internal memo in late August. Pamela Puleo, a spokesperson for Concord Hospital, said several employees were upset by the announcement, but she is unaware of anyone who quit as a result. Those who apply for religious or health exemptions will be vetted on a case by case basis, she said. 

Since the announcement, many staff members have signed up for appointments at the hospital’s routine vaccination clinics, she said. As of Monday, about 80% of the staff were vaccinated.

Concord Hospital is one of the more recent healthcare employers to require its employees to be fully vaccinated. Dartmouth-Hitchcock recently announced a similar mandate for its 13,000 employees, including those working remotely and per diem. In early August, the New Hampshire Hospital Association too said they support the adoption of mandated COVID-19 vaccine policies for employees at New Hampshire’s medical facilities. 

While losing employees as a result of the mandate was a concern for the hospital, Puleo said the risks of having unvaccinated staff outweighed staffing worries. 

“Absolutely it’s a concern, but it’s more of a concern that we have unvaccinated staff that could get sick or pass COVID onto other people,” Puleo said. 

It won’t be clear how many employees may leave as a result of the mandate until after October 23, when the mandate goes into effect, she said. She said the hospital has worked to educate its staff about the facts and fallacies surrounding COVID-19 vaccines before instituting a mandate. 

Still, a small band of protestors stands across the street from the hospital each day holding signs disparaging mandatory vaccines.

In New Hampshire, the number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations has surged to springtime highs as a result of the highly contagious Delta variant. 

The Biden administration has imposed several sweeping vaccine requirements for nursing homes, federal workers, and most recently businesses with more than 100 employees. 

The approved COVID-19 vaccines are still effective against the variant. A study out of the United Kingdom found that two doses of the Pfizer vaccine were about 96% effective at preventing hospitalization due to the Delta variant. Scientists who have performed laboratory experiments on the Moderna vaccine concluded it was 72% effective against the variant, though more research needs to be done.

A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that vaccinated Americans are five times less likely to contract COVID-19 and ten times less likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 than their unvaccinated counterparts. 

Teddy Rosenbluth bio photo

Teddy Rosenbluth is a Report for America corps member covering health care issues for the Concord Monitor since spring 2020. She has covered science and health care for Los Angeles Magazine, the Santa Monica Daily Press and UCLA's Daily Bruin, where she was a health editor and later magazine director. Her investigative reporting has brought her everywhere from the streets of Los Angeles to the hospitals of New Delhi. Her work garnered first place for Best Enterprise News Story from the California Journalism Awards, and she was a national finalist for the Society of Professional Journalists Best Magazine Article. She graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in psychobiology.

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