ARH requiring vaccinations for employees, other local hospitals considering similar protocols

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — A local hospital is making a push to ensure the safety of anyone who walks in the building.

Appalachian Regional Hospital announced its hospitals will now require all employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Employees must receive one dose by Sept. 15, 2021 and be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1, 2021. This mandate will affect ARH hospitals in both Beckley and Hinton.

Princeton Community Hospital said they’re now evaluating their own vaccination protocols for employees.

PCH President and CEO Karen Bowling said in a statement, “That is under advisement right now. Our system is determining whether or not we think that’s the right step. There will be some information forthcoming within the next 30 days on how they will advise. We will take their information and use it to make a good decision.”

Just a few minutes down the road from Beckley ARH, administrators at Raleigh General Hospital are still putting together their guidelines.

RGH CEO Simon Ratliff told 59News, “At this time, Raleigh General Hospital is strongly encouraging and supporting all of our team members to become fully vaccinated.”

He said while vaccines are not mandatory for their employees yet, based on the significant evidence towards the safety and validity of the vaccine, that decision could come any day.

Ratliff added, “Understanding that the situation changes daily, we are committed to carefully evaluating the research and the level of COVID-19 activity in our communities, as we make this very important decision independent of approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). We will continue to evaluate our procedures and closely follow guidance from our local, state and federal partners in public health.”

Until then, employees of the two hospitals will have to wait to see when that decision comes.

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