Hackensack Meridian Health is telling all staff to get vaccinated, or get fired.

A memo to employees at the 13 hospitals and dozens of other health centers run by HMH set a deadline of Oct. 1 to receive at least one dose of vaccine. All staff would have to be completely vaccinated by Nov. 15 or face suspension and/or termination.

One of New Jersey's largest hospital groups, the directive includes all staff, from cleaning crews to receptionists and all medical staff.

Dr. Daniel Varga, chief physician executive, says 70% of all team members are already vaccinated. He expressed concern about the rise of deadly (COVID-19) variants, and claimed vaccinations are "our best shot at defeating this pandemic once and for all, saving lives and returning to normal.”

“COVID-19 vaccines are proven to be safe and highly effective at preventing transmission, hospitalizations and death from the virus. Over the past year, we have used every tool at our disposal to protect patients and team members from COVID-19. More than 70 percent of our team members are vaccinated. We are requiring vaccinations for all team members to help stop the spread of this deadly virus and keep our patients, team members and visitors safe. Mandatory vaccinations are the best way to achieve herd immunity, and protect our communities from the deadly variants that are threatening to wreak havoc in the months ahead. They're our best shot at defeating this pandemic once and for all, saving lives and returning to normal.” - Dr. Daniel Varga, Chief Physician Executive, Hackensack Meridian Health

The move by Hackensack Meridian Health follows a similar directive issued by RWJBarnabas Health in May. At that time RWJBarnabas began mandating that all staff at the supervisory level and above would be required to have a COVID vaccine no later than June 30.

Barry H. Ostrowsky, president and CEO for RWJBarnabas Health, issued statement saying he anticipated "it will eventually be required for all staff."

A copy of the memo sent to HMH staff was obtained by Ocean County Scanner News and can be viewed here.  

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