Northern Light Health in favor of vaccine mandate, opposes testing component

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 5:05 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Northern Light Health says more than 95% of its workforce is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

That leaves roughly 540 employees who have until Friday to get Johnson and Johnson’s single-dose regimen, or risk losing their job.

Maine’s vaccine mandate for health care workers will be enforced starting two weeks from Friday.

Northern Light says it began tracking employee resignations back when the flu shot became mandated in the spring.

So far, system officials say 117 employees have left due to vaccine requirements.

Despite the future employment status of hundreds of employees still up in the air, Senior Vice President Paul Bolin says he agrees with the stance the state has taken.

He says they’re against adding a testing component to the mandate in an effort to retain more workers.

“Testing is appropriate for those who have a medical exemption and can’t receive the vaccine, but to provide testing in lieu of vaccine for those who are able to receive the vaccine just isn’t providing the level of safety that we are at Northern Light believe is appropriate. We agree with the state mandate,” said Bolin.

As other Maine hospitals cut back on services due to staffing shortages, Northern Light says, for now, its facilities are in good shape.

Officials aren’t anticipating any interruptions to the services they provide but will continue to evaluate staffing numbers.

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