Frederick Health Emergency Entrance (copy)

An ambulance arrives at the emergency department entrance of Frederick Health Hospital.

Starting in August, Frederick Health will require all new employees, medical staff members and volunteers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they have a medical or religious exemption, the health care system announced late Tuesday afternoon.

Existing Frederick Health staff members who have not been vaccinated by Sept. 1 — including those who have medical or religious exemptions and those who are waiting until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration grants the vaccines' full approval — will be required to follow “enhanced infection control procedures,” including wearing a mask, following social distancing guidelines and providing a negative COVID-19 test result to their supervisor every two weeks, according to a news release from the health care system.

“Frederick Health’s highest obligation is to the safety, health, and welfare of our most vulnerable patients,” Tom Kleinhanzl, president and CEO of Frederick Health, said in the release. “Vaccines are the best tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and help bring a swift end to this pandemic.”

As of Tuesday, about 73 percent of the system’s 3,700 employees were fully vaccinated, according to hospital officials. About 53 percent of the county population was fully vaccinated as of the same date, according to county health data.

The news from Frederick Health comes after some of Maryland’s largest hospitals and health systems announced last week that their employees would be required to be vaccinated by the fall.

On June 9, the Maryland Hospital Association — which advocates for Maryland’s 60 nonprofit hospitals and health systems — announced that its members had each agreed to set a date after which vaccination against COVID-19 would be a “condition of employment.”

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced in May that employers would not be violating federal laws if they required their employees to get vaccinated, so long as they made “reasonable accommodations” for workers who didn’t get the shot because of religious beliefs, a disability or pregnancy.

According to Tuesday’s release from Frederick Health, those who cannot receive the COVID-19 vaccine due to medical or religious reasons will be able to apply for an annual exemption, similar to their current opportunity to do so for the influenza vaccine. Those delaying vaccination until full FDA approval will also be allowed to do so as long as they follow the infection control guidelines.

Since the FDA issued emergency use authorizations for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in December — and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in February — more than 145 million Americans have been vaccinated. 

Follow Angela Roberts on Twitter: @24_angier

(39) comments

public-redux

It is well past time to do away with religious exemptions for vaccinations. People are free to do their religion any way they want. They aren’t free to endanger other people because of it.

Dwasserba

“Existing Frederick Health staff members who have not been vaccinated by Sept. 1 — including those who have medical or religious exemptions… will be required to follow ‘enhanced infection control procedures’…”

public-redux

So?

If enhanced infection control procedures are as good as a vaccination, then don’t require anyone to get a vaccination. If those procedures aren’t as good as a vaccination, then don’t allow exemptions for religious idiosyncrasies.

vodalone

In my recent experience with the Frederick Health system I've noticed our local specialists are very good (cardiologists, gastroenterologists, etc.). However the GP's are mostly incompetent morons and it's hard to find a qualified reliable one, personally I avoid them at all costs and go straight to a specialist. Unfortunately not all insurances allow that.

phydeaux994

I would take issue with that. My wife and I, in our 80’s, have Frederick Health Internists as our Primary Physicians and consider them the best we have had ever. Frederick Health has many Primary Physicians in many locations around the County and to say most of them are incompetent morons is nuts. How many have you been to? Most of them?

Awteam2021

Phydeaux994, I would have never guessed you were in your 80’s. So enlightened. That’s pretty cool 😎.

Dwasserba

Just.not.true 😵‍💫

BlueFredneck

A lot depends on the role that person plays.

Dr. House? He's doing whatever he wants.

IT or finance girl/guy that rarely interacts with the public but otherwise doesn't grow on trees? Will be made to wear a mask and get tested, but otherwise not much else.

Volunteer or orderly that can be replaced? Depending on how annoying they are about being unvaxed, they might find themselves with changes of duties, forced to adhere to policies that might've been bent in the past, etc.

sevenstones1000

Very disappointing that more than 25% of Frederick Health employees do not believe science and are vax-deniers. But then, every experience I have had this system and hospital for more than 30 years has been a nightmare of incompetence, so I don’t have high expectations. One more reason to go to Baltimore for medical needs,

Greg F

You have to remember, half the people you meet on any given day are below the center line of that intelligence bell curve. Most of those 25% you note are on the farther left and lower side of that curve where it starts to flatten out. I honestly don't care if they win Darwin Awards for their idiocy, but they can take out others in the process of grabbing for the gold.

vodalone

Your typical low level health care workers like receptionists at offices, aids, etc. don't have high qualifications despite being in the healthcare field, therefore more likely to reject science and not be vaccinated. The higher you go up the healthcare chain the more people are vaccinated I've noticed.

Dwasserba

Ugh. Badmouthing where you live is rude.

Brookhawk

“Frederick Health’s highest obligation is to the safety, health, and welfare of our most vulnerable patients,” Tom Kleinhanzl, president and CEO of Frederick Health, said in the release. “Vaccines are the best tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and help bring a swift end to this pandemic.”

Baloney. The bottom line is that if you don't get a vaccine, for whatever reason, you can still work for FMH if you wear a mask and keep social distance. FMH seems to have forgotten that their "vulnerable patients" come there because the ARE vulnerable. Very bad decision. I hope I can make it to a hospital in Baltimore if I really get sick, because I wouldn't feel very safe in the FMH environment where one out of every four employees has NOT been vaccinated for COVID and is still allowed to work there.

Dwasserba

I was there in September when all anyone had were masks and distancing was impossible. I did not get covid.

Piedmontgardener

Precisely the correct decision for the community at large. Thank you, FMH.

sevenstones1000

Hand washing and sterilization of instruments will become voluntary next month. The 25% of workers who don’t believe in Germ Theory don’t have to do it. Freedom!

phydeaux994

What is a Religious reason for not getting vaccinations?

Brookhawk

Anything you say it is.

sevenstones1000

I believe in Stupid God.

Greg F

You just have to say something and babble on like an idiot for awhile about Mary and her idiot husband that didn't realize he was being cheated on and make up some stories like that. I'd go for the angle that the Flying Spaghetti Monster told me vacines were the work of the meatball devil. That'll learn 'em, eh?

artandarchitecture

Phy, here's one (of many possible) religious exemptions:

Per Dr. Aleena Banerji, a member of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, fetal cell lines were used in the development of these vaccines. These cell lines were taken from elective abortions in the 1970s and 1980s.

gabrielshorn2013

Which vaccines were those A&A? The synthetic mRNA vaccines?

Is that why you aren't getting vaccinated Art? By your logic what a woman does with her own body should be mandated, but not Covid vaccines ? It's either all or nothing wouldn't you agree? You can't mandate one body without mandating the other body.....because you are saying it's your body, your choice, .....and that's what we women have been saying since the beginning of time, my body, my choice...Cognitive dissonance much?

Awteam2021

Art, No, the COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any aborted fetal cells. Yes, fetal cell lines have been used in vaccine development, confirmation and production.  But fetal cell lines are not the same as fetal tissue. They do not contain any tissue from a fetus. There are no aborted cells in your body.

When it comes to the COVID-19 vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna used no fetal cell lines during the development or production phases. So, no fetal cell lines were used to manufacture the vaccine, and they are not inside the injection you receive from your healthcare provider.

But remember Art doesn't do science....and neither does 25% of the FMH employees it seems? But aborted fetal cells....those are way more important than this science stuff?

Greg F

Let's see a legitimate source on our BS there Artie. Not Fox...Not Hannity or those other morons that all still think elections were stolen. We know those folks have no yearning of truth in them....like you don't either.

phydeaux994

a & a, you need to change your name to I. M. Gullible. Peace.✌️😷

Dwasserba

So many people more ethical than the Pope. Who even guessed.

public-redux

So many people know that.

Dwasserba

Georgette Engel, actress, was a Christian Scientist. They don’t consult doctors. Period. It seems unlikely they would work in a hospital environment so I dunno.

FrederickFan

This policy makes total sense. Any hospital or other institution who has a priority of patient care should require vaccinations. The vaccines are why we are returning to more normal life.

Brookhawk

Except that anyone not vaccinated will still be allowed to work there, whether they have a medical or religious exemption or not. They just have to wear a mask and keep social distance. Good luck with enforcing that. And enforcement starts in September? Lots of time to get sick if you have to go to the hospital. Bad decision. No vaccination? Go find another job, even if you do have an exemption. Go to work for a sympathetic small practice, or better yet find some career that doesn't involved contact with people already ill. The world is full of vacancies right now.

sevenstones1000

Except they aren’t really requiring vaccines. Read the article.

threecents

Starting in August? Why not June?

davegbl

Commies

Greg F

Whatever....red baiter.

artandarchitecture

I agree w/ you Dave. It's straight up communism.

*And* two Celebrity cruise passengers tested positive for Covid-19 on the first ever 100% Vaccinated-only cruise. Why, I'm sure they simply needed just 2 or 3 more[!] unapproved-by-the-FDA, experimental injections.

gabrielshorn2013

"... unapproved-by-the-FDA, experimental injections."

Unapproved by FDA - technically a fact. However, these mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) have undergone more testing and clinical trials than most approved drugs on the market, by a factor of nearly 10X. As someone who claimed to work in the FDA VAERS program (seriously doubtful based on earlier claims), you know that, right? So, what part of the BLA approval process is missing? I know, do you? The viral-based vaccines (J&J, AstraZeneca) and protein subunit vaccines (Novavax) have a long history of safety, and have undergone the same scale of clinical trials as the mRNA vaccines. So, since there are several vaccine technologies are available, which ones are you talking about?

Experimental injections - If the mRNA vaccines were in pre-clinical phases, or early clinical phases, your statement would be true. Again, with 10X more clinical data than most approved products, these are no longer "experimental vaccines". They are vaccines released under EUA with final FDA approval pending (see above). Again, which technology are you talking about?

Getting vaccinated does not mean you won't test positive. It means even if you develop a transient infection, your probability of developing the disease is greatly reduced. This is the same as most other vaccines.

Greg F

Artie, you wouldn't know a commie from a coma...which you seem to be in mentally.

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