A message from Cyndee McGuire, President & CEO, MCH
Support needed to improve vaccination rate
Here in the Monadnock Region, autumn is the season we usually associate with apple-picking, back-to-school preparations, and raking leaves. This year, for those of us in healthcare, it is also a most challenging time as we brace to prepare and meet yet another rising wave of COVID now hitting our friends, neighbors and loved ones. Ask anyone who works in healthcare and they’ll tell you that COVID infection rates are exploding, fueled by the Delta variant and a low vaccination rate in our area.
Here at Monadnock Community Hospital, we are mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for all of our employees, while allowing for medical or religious exemptions. Why? Because the vaccines are extraordinarily effective at reducing the risk of serious complications or hospitalizations associated with COVID and because we need to maintain a healthy team here to be able to care for our patients and community. An important fact is that the highly-advanced mRNA science behind these vaccinations is so effective, that Dr. Ozlem Tureci, the lead scientist behind the first COVID vaccine, has announced that her team is now applying what they’ve learned toward developing the first vaccines for cancer.
Across the US, nearly 55% of the population is now fully vaccinated. How are our numbers in New Hampshire? Not great, I’m sorry to report. Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts all boast significantly higher vaccination rates than New Hampshire. Here, in Hillsborough County, our vaccination rate of 50% is one of the lowest in the state.
We can do better – and we must!
This week we launched an ad campaign titled, “Do it for me.” In it, we encourage our community to be vaccinated for the loved ones in their lives, for the healthcare workers throughout the region and for themselves. These ads will feature familiar faces of people you likely know who, together, are joining their voices to encourage everyone to become vaccinated. A year ago, these healthcare heroes bravely led the charge as COVID was causing our schools and many local businesses to close. Now, a year later, the work still continues, as record numbers of people are still getting sick, some very seriously – while some are dying.
People say that vaccines save lives. It’s more accurate to say that vaccinations save lives. In other words, now that we have a highly effective vaccine – we have to use it.
For those of you in our community who have been vaccinated, I’d like to say, “Thank you,” on behalf of us here at MCH. For those who haven’t been vaccinated, I ask you to please reconsider. The virus doesn’t discriminate between political parties, or religious beliefs. When it strikes, it often strikes hard.
These are challenging times and we know that everyone is tired of dealing with COVID. From all of us at MCH, please know we’ll be here for you, if you need us. In return, please remember that our MCH Team, our healthcare heroes, are a precious and limited resource.
You can support their efforts in protecting our community by getting vaccinated and practicing safety protocols, such as masking, screening and social distancing, when appropriate.
We are so grateful for all of the support you give to our hospital and staff and we now need your support with improving our community vaccination rates. Together, let’s work toward reducing COVID’s impact and shortening the time until autumn is more normal, once again.
Cyndee McGuire is the President and CEO of Monadnock Community Hospital