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Greensburg, IN–November 4, 2021. Today marks 55 days since Morning Breeze Retirement Community & Healthcare Center self-imposed a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all employees. Since the mandate went into effect on September 10, 98% of staff members have been fully vaccinated.

Morning Breeze Executive Director Holly Witkemper says that the decision to move forward with the vaccine mandate ahead of national guidance was an easy one. “Our residents made the decision early to vaccinate and it was important for me to mandate the vaccination to show we respect their health and are willing to do the same,” she said.

In August, the Biden-Harris administration first announced that nursing home workers would be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Today, President Biden issued an emergency order requiring staff at healthcare facilities who participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs to receive at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccination in the next 30 days and be fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022. While this announcement may come as a shock to some, Morning Breeze is ahead of the curve. “We just couldn’t wait,” Holly said. “Families are ecstatic to know that our team will go above and beyond, face fear of the unknown and made sacrifices for their loved ones.”

Holly has had the full support of her team:

“I chose to get vaccinated for the safety of my family, the residents I work with every day, and myself. I had COVID early on and was uncertain about the vaccine at first, but after looking into it further I decided it was the best thing I could do to protect those around me and those that are more vulnerable.” Andi Shobe, Speech Therapist

“I got vaccinated to protect my son who has chronic lung disease, myself, co-workers, and my residents. I also became a vaccine ambassador to help as well. It just makes me feel like I’m doing my part to protect everyone around me.” Mia Thurmon, Environmental Services

“I got vaccinated because I want to keep me, my family, and our residents safe! I have recently lost some of my family members to COVID-19 and I cannot stress enough on how important it is to get vaccinated.” Laura Wilson, Dietary

Morning Breeze was recently recognized by the Indiana Health Care Association for their efforts. “From dedicating focused time to share information about COVID-19 vaccine and address staff concerns to launching a vaccine ambassador program, their team’s persistent efforts helped their facility achieve this incredible goal,” said Deeksha Kapoor, IHCA Director of Communications.

Holly says at the end of the day, it’s all about keeping the residents safe. “As healthcare providers, our actions directly affect those we care for,” she said. “It is our responsibility to take action and do everything in our power to protect them by protecting ourselves.”