SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s been said many times that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. But St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System officials believe they can prove it with new data from their vaccinated staff.
St. Joseph’s/Candler has been vaccinating their employees for more than two months, and so far have seen positive results from their clinics.
“We’re currently at 69.3 percent vaccination rate.”
“Our COVID related absences have dropped 54 percent.”
Statistics at St. Joseph’s/ Candler show having their staff vaccinated has made a difference in the fight against COVID -19.
“I absolutely believe that it is effective against COVID, yes, and that is from the fact that like I said we have not had people that have been fully vaccinated that have been diagnosed with COVID,” Occupational Health Services Manager Laura Floyd said.
The health system’s goal was to get 70 percent of their staff vaccinated to reach herd immunity. They are less than one percent from that number and say it makes all the difference in this pandemic.
“As most people know, finding nurses at this point is just very, very difficult. The whole profession is very strained so we have to protect, love and keep the people that you have and keep them healthy so they can support the community,” HR Director Peter Nyamora said.
They have seen a more than 50 percent drop in COVID-related absences since giving the vaccine. Leaders say their data shows staff contracting the virus are those who chose not to be vaccinated or haven’t gotten the second dose. Nurses say being vaccinated gives them confidence.
“I think a lot of people feel better about coming to work because they feel a sense of security more so you know because they have that vaccination on board and it’s a good feeling, it’s really a good feeling. You know we understand it’s not 100 percent, but it’s better than what we had - it’s better than 0,” said Carla Lasseter, RN. She is a nurse at Candler Hospital.
St. Joseph’s/Candler leaders say there was some hesitancy at first, but they worked hard to inform their staff about the facts and dispel myths. They feel their success sends a message to others.
“I think it should give patients confidence that our staff is really buying into this and is excited about the vaccine and that our rate is so high it makes it a safe and well-staffed place to come,” Floyd said.
“We want to be the example that the community can look and say St. Joseph’s/ Candler look what they have done with their community and as a result I think we have to hop on board,” Nyamora said.
They feel confident what they are seeing is possible if others will follow suit and protect themselves against COVID-19.