Vermont psychiatric hospital requiring vaccines after cases

The Brattleboro Retreat-File photo
The Brattleboro Retreat-File photo(WCAX)
Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 9:48 AM EDT
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BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (AP) - The Brattleboro Retreat psychiatric hospital is telling its employees they must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 18 or they will lose their jobs.

The organizationwide mandate that was issued Wednesday comes after an unvaccinated staff member caused an outbreak at the hospital by infecting other staff and patients, said Retreat President and CEO Louis Josephson.

“So clearly, avoiding mandated vaccinations has not prevented service impacts to our operation,” Josephson said. “If anything, unvaccinated staff are a significant reason for disruption, illness, exceptional cost and effort related to the outbreak.”

Josephson told the Brattleboro Reformer three patients in the Retreat’s adolescent unit have been infected with COVID-19 and more than 100 Retreat staffers have tests that are pending.

“The patients are all doing well, which is the good news,” Josephson said.

Most hospitals across Vermont have imposed COVID-19 vaccine mandates on their employees during the pandemic.

Josephson said the requirement was necessary to keep the Retreat’s patients safe.

“When you get an outbreak like this, it’s a moment of clarity. You just have to do the right thing,” Josephson said. “We are trying to do the right thing by our patients.

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