When Rush University Medical Center announced it would be requiring all employees to have received the COVID-19 vaccine, the average hospital vaccination rate in the United States hovered around 65%. Today, following the Oct. 1 mandate, the Medical Center sits at 99% compliance.
“We are incredibly proud of our team at Rush University Medical Center,” said Courtney Kammer, senior vice president and chief human resources officer. “The level of vaccination we’ve been able to achieve reflects that our staff recognizes and appreciates that a fully vaccinated staff is essential to our ability to keep patients and each other safe.”
Kammer said there has been a groundswell of support for the vaccine on campus since well before it was available.
"And 99 percent compliance illustrates perfectly the importance we all place on the health and well-being of our community,” she said.
“Our staff has been on the front lines throughout the pandemic,” said Dr. Paul Casey, chief medical officer. “Their commitment has been extraordinary. Now, they continue to do the right thing, sending a clear message that Rush is a safe place and that the safety of our team members and patients is what really comes first.”
The mantra “Rush was built for this” has been a consistent theme since the arrival of the virus in Chicago in March 2020.
'Still much to be done'
While caring for the sickest of the sick and emphasizing the importance of health equity throughout, Rush has earned a reputation for being a critical force across the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois. And with 3,356 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 41 related deaths Friday it remains clear that the pandemic is not over.
“There is still so much to be done,” said Angelique Richard, senior vice president for hospital operations and chief nursing officer. “Now is a time to listen to the concerns of the hesitant to continue to make progress and find ways to educate those who continue to have concerns about the safety of the vaccine.”
While the efficacy of the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are well documented, Rush is joining health care organizations across the country to provide boosters for those at risk — with reopened mass vaccination clinic for employees who first received the vaccine more than six months ago.
“This issue is among the most important we are facing as a nation today,” Kammer said. “We want to make it as easy as possible for our employees to get vaccinated and get a booster so we can continue to meet the needs of our patients and their family. We want to demonstrate to them that Rush is safe and ready to serve.”
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