ChristianaCare issued a statement Saturday morning defending the decision to require vaccinations for its 14,000 caregivers, (staff).
ChristianaCare is Delaware’s largest private employer and second only to state government in its total headcount.
There have been reports of unhappiness with the decision among some staff, not an unusual occurrence with a large organization in the current environment.
Opponents held a protest Saturday over the vaccination mandate that attracted hundreds of people, according to TownSquare Live.
The issue of mandatory vaccinations has taken on political overtones with Florida Gov. and frequently mentioned presidential candidate Ron De Santis objecting to Florida hospitals making similar orders.
In a Facebook post late last month, Lauren Witzke, a former Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate seat held by Chris Coons, offered her support to vaccination opponents at ChristianaCare. Witzke is known for extreme statements supporting the flat earth movement and at one point called Coons a Satanist.
A ChristianaCare representative did not respond to a request for comment on the reason for the statement.
Making the statement is Dr. Ken Silverstein, chief physician executive at ChristianaCare.
Below is a video version of the statement followed by text:
ChristianaCare’s 14,000 caregivers serve together with love and excellence every day to meet the needs of the people we serve. Doing that requires a safe environment to care for patients and a safe work environment for caregivers.
We value our caregivers, and we are proud to be one of nearly 100 health systems across the United States that have made COVID-19 vaccination a condition of employment. This important, life-saving safety standard supports our continued ability to serve our neighbors as respectful, expert, caring partners in their health. That’s the ChristianaCare Way.
We did not make the decision about our vaccination policy lightly. The imminent danger posed by the highly transmissible delta variant of COVID has tipped the scales in our effort to balance the right to personal freedom with the right to having a safe workplace.
Our decision-making is based on the science and the facts about the vaccine.
The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and approved. They are not experimental. Hundreds of millions of doses have been given under the most intense scrutiny in medical history. We know more about the safety of these vaccines than we’ve ever known about a vaccine so soon after it has become available.
Since we announced our caregiver vaccination policy on July 29, the majority of feedback we’ve received has been positive and supportive, as our caregivers and members of our community welcome this commitment to their safety. We also recognize that a significant number of individuals continue to have concerns about the vaccine and its safety. We are listening actively, as we also work to provide clear, factual information about the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines.
We encourage everyone, in all communities, to get vaccinated against COVID-19 today. COVID has shown more clearly than ever how we are all interconnected. Vaccination is the best way to protect each other.
The rapid COVID-19 resurgence that we are currently experiencing is the result of the virus spreading among unvaccinated people. This spread increases the likelihood of new mutations—and with each variant there is danger that the virus can become more transmissible or even evolve to become resistant to the current vaccines.
Our best hope of preventing the emergence of another, even more dangerous variant of this virus is to get everyone vaccinated as quickly as possible.