Mon. Dec 4th, 2023

CINCINNATI — A local nonprofit organization that deals with retired individuals is requiring that all employees get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Episcopal Retirement Services operates nearly 30 retirement communities across the Tri-State, and managers said they want to protect the people they serve – some of whom are considered among the most vulnerable to the virus.

“We decided based on the variant and the fact that we have new data that says that the variant is more contagious and more deadly for the most vulnerable in our society,” Episcopal Retirement Services president & CEO Laura Lamb said. “We felt it was in our residents’ best interests to make the vaccine mandated.”

Data shows the number of cases in the area is on the rise.

“Over the last three weeks, we have seen a significant number of cases here in Hamilton County as well as nearly a triple increase in the number of hospitalizations in our 14-county region,” Hamilton County Health Commissioner Greg Kestermann said.

ERS employs close to 850 people throughout the region – and while some might be opposed to getting vaccinated, Lamb said it’s what’s needed to prevent anyone from getting sick.

“It may not be for every aging service provider, but for ERS, we want to make sure that, at the end of our day, that we’re doing everything in our power to protect the individuals that have been entrusted to our care,” she said.

Private companies and government agencies can mandate the vaccine, but there are exceptions which are stated on the company’s website – citing medical or religious reasons.

All continuing care retirement community (CCRC) and ERS support staff must have their first dose by September 25. Medical or religious exemptions must be submitted by that date as well.

All of the nonprofits’ affordable living staff must have received their first dose by December 31.

An employee who refuses to get vaccinated can be terminated.

By senior