Several WV EMS Agencies Mandate COVID-19 Vaccines

A member of the Philadelphia Fire Department prepares a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site setup in Philadelphia.
FILE - In this March 26, 2021, file photo a member of the Philadelphia Fire Department prepares a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site setup in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

HealthNet Aeromedical Services, HealthTeam Critical Care Transport, Monongalia EMS and Star City EMS are the first emergency services agencies in West Virginia to require their employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We all share the common mission of caring for the ill and injured in our communities. We must lead by example, and collectively this is the right thing to do to protect our team members and those whom we are entrusted to care for,” said Clinton Burley, president and CEO of HealthNet Aeromedical Services.

Related: Leading EMS Organizations Support Vaccine Mandate for EMS Clinicians

These mandates align with West Virginia’s three academic medical centers and many regional hospital systems and nursing care facilities which have already required the COVID-19 vaccine for clinical and non-clinical workers. 

“EMS providers are at the leading edge of healthcare, bringing care to the patient in their homes, schools and workplaces. Patients trust us in their time of need, and we as EMS professionals need to provide that safe environment for them. That includes doing everything possible to protect the patient, our providers, and the community by ensuring that the professionals providing the care are vaccinated against this savage virus,” said Forest Weyen, executive director of Monongalia EMS.

The COVID-19 vaccine has been endorsed and encouraged by medical experts and agencies around the world. The Food and Drug Administration recently granted full approval of the Pfizer vaccine. Employees of these agencies will have the option of receiving any of the three vaccines currently available.

“Since the beginning of this pandemic, every EMS agency has worked diligently to protect not only the public we serve but our providers as well. This step towards mandatory vaccinations is no exception,” said John Hitchens, executive director of EMS for Star City EMS. “The public can rest assured that these EMS agencies are doing everything possible to provide the safest environment to get patients where they need to be while providing a work environment that is the safest possible for our employees and their families.”

All agencies will require their clinical providers and staff to be fully vaccinated by November 1, 2021, unless granted an exemption for medical or religious reasons. 

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