Little Rock, Ark., July 22, 2021
Easterseals Arkansas has decided that the covid-19 vaccine is mandatory for employees and volunteers by Sept. 30, 2021.
The new requirement comes as the delta variant of covid-19 continues to spread rapidly in central Arkansas, where Easterseals Arkansas serves hundreds of people with disabilities and their families.
In requiring the vaccine for employees, Easterseals Arkansas joins other health care organizations across the U.S. in recognizing that vaccination serves the common good, protects people who come to us for services, and is crucial to safeguarding public health and bringing an end to the pandemic.
Since the onset of this pandemic, Easterseals Arkansas CEO Ron Ekstrand explains, the organization has been using three criteria to help us make decisions for the good of all involved:
“We have been relying on our team to make their own decisions about receiving the covid-19 vaccination. However, in the midst of this pandemic, that decision impacts too many others, including those we are here to serve and to support – many of whom are too young or too medically fragile to get the vaccine themselves,” Ekstrand said. “If we use our three criteria, staff choosing not to get vaccinated negatively impacts all three of our criteria while staff who have voluntarily gotten vaccinated positively impacts them all.”
Easterseals Arkansas also makes the decision in light of a report by the Arkansas Public Health Pandemic Working Group. It states, “Covid-19 is not over in Arkansas. It is, at best, smoldering. COVID is no longer smoldering. It has broken out into a raging forest fire that will grow in size and strength. We cannot stand still. We must act to reduce the consequences of this new surge to the extent possible.”
Back in the 1940s, Easterseals Arkansas was founded as a service organization in response to the polio epidemic. Today, we choose to lead by making the Covid-19 vaccine mandatory for employees and volunteers to eradicate the spread of this deadly and debilitating virus. This decision is in line with our mission to serve individuals with disabilities and their families so they can continue to live, learn, work and play in their communities.
Ekstrand said, “I invite other employers or organizations, including those who are hesitant to make this decision, to join us in taking this proactive stand against the virus.”