LANCASTER, PA – On Tuesday, September 14, eight Lancaster area senior living communities shared their plan to support mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for all of their employees. In a joint statement, the senior living communities expressed appreciation to their employees who have worked tirelessly to mitigate the impact of the virus on residents and fellow staff members. At the same time, they acknowledged how quickly the spread of the COVID-19 virus can affect the lives of the residents they care for and serve. The recent spread of the Delta variant and the dramatic increase in the Lancaster County positivity rate, now over 11%, demonstrate that this virus is not yet defeated.
The senior living communities expressed, “We believe that the COVID-19 vaccine provides a safe and effective way to help prevent severe illness, hospitalizations, death, and the spread of the virus. A vaccinated workforce is far less likely to infect residents, fellow employees, and their families.”
Prior to this measure, all of the communities have strongly encouraged employees and residents to receive the vaccine and have provided countless hours of education to overcome vaccine hesitancy among employees.
The senior living communities supporting the COVID-19 vaccination mandate are:
- Brethren Village
- Garden Spot Village
- Landis Communities
- Mennonite Home Communities
- Moravian Manor Communities
- Tel Hai Retirement Community
- Willow Valley Communities
According to the statement released Tuesday, “the recent announcement of full authorization of the Pfizer vaccine by the FDA has provided another important step in building confidence of the intensive safety measures used in the development of the vaccines. In addition, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has announced that they are developing an emergency regulation requiring staff vaccinations within the nation’s Medicare and Medicaid-participating nursing homes. We agree with the recommendations of the CMS and CDC that vaccination of all staff is now necessary to combat this highly contagious Delta variant.” Last Thursday’s subsequent announcement by President Joe Biden would require health care workers at all facilities receiving funds from Medicare and Medicaid to be fully vaccinated, expanding the mandate to hospitals and other health care facilities.
The plan for mandatory vaccination was developed by the eight communities prior to last week’s announcement by the President about proposed rules for mandatory COVID-19 vaccination and testing by private sector employers.
They went on to say, “We continue to believe that the science and extensive testing behind the development of the vaccines have demonstrated that they are safe and effective. We believe that this decision serves the best interest of everyone in our individual communities, as well as the broader Lancaster community and beyond.”
While the implementation plan and vaccination deadline may vary by community, each of the eight senior living communities will require all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment, unless a medical or religious exemption has been approved.
Luthercare announced its team member vaccination mandate on August 10, and our deadline for staff to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is today, September 15. At the time of our announcement, we had been carefully watching the surge in infections and the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, both nationally and in our service area. Due to this spread and wanting to do everything we can to keep our residents safe, coupled with the knowledge that the FDA was planning to approve a vaccine in early fall, we didn’t want to wait. We felt it was important to be part of the announcement with the other communities in order to best serve Lancaster County.
For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine: