Hickory, N.C. – North Carolina-based Affinity Living Group is taking a major step toward safer practices by requiring mandatory influenza vaccinations for its more than 4,000 employees.
ALG manages more than 120 communities in six states, and will be providing free flu and other immunizations, including pneumococcal and shingles, administered by local CVS Pharmacists for each community it manages. ALG, headquartered in Hickory, NC., is the first long-term care provider in North Carolina to provide mandatory employee vaccinations on this scale.
“Affinity Living Group is taking the bold step of making this mandatory for all staff as we move forward,” said Dr. Kevin O’Neil, chief medical officer for ALG. “Probably the single greatest advance in the history of medicine has been the introduction of vaccines. When you look at the impact vaccines have had in protecting large numbers of individuals – it’s monumental.”
Mandating the immunization of its team members is an essential step toward preventing potentially life-threatening illnesses for the older adults who reside in ALG communities as well as its employees. The vaccines will be offered at no cost to the employees through a voucher program.
“At ALG, we are not only responsible for providing care to the seniors who live in our communities, but also for caring for the individuals that work at each of those communities and at our headquarters,” said Mary Raddant, vice president of human resources. “We want each of those employees to remain safe and healthy year-round, and ensuring that each employee receives the flu shot at no charge is one extra step toward that goal.”
Ahead of flu season, CVS Pharmacists will hold a flu clinic at their respective ALG community. Employees can redeem their flu shot vouchers during this clinic, or any time at any CVS Pharmacy location, including those located within Target stores. Through an opt-out program, residents will also be able to receive their flu shots during these ALG clinics, and citizens from the surrounding area are welcome to participate with proof of insurance.
This initiative is an additional precautionary measure exemplifying ALG’s commitment to caring for its residents and employees.
“Our residents are our top priority,” said CEO Charles Trefzger. “We will do whatever it takes to be certain they are provided the best care, and this initiative is just one example of the preventative measures we take to keep our residents and staff safe and healthy.”
Along with providing the flu shot itself, ALG plans to educate ALG staff and the broader community on the importance of receiving the flu vaccine, debunking myths surrounding the perceived dangers of the vaccine, along with how the flu clinic program works. CVS Pharmacists will also attend ALG community events to serve as an educational resource to residents, family members and other guests on why the flu vaccine is critical, especially in the senior living space.
“More than 30 thousand people a year die from influenza, and it’s more significant in the older age group,” O’Neil said. “It’s important for us as people who work in this field to understand the moral responsibility that we have to be vaccinated.”
About Affinity Living Group
With more than 120 communities in 6 states, Affinity Living Group, based in Hickory, NC, is the largest senior housing provider in the southeastern United States. Affinity’s mission is to provide a full continuum of housing and care services for older adults, delivered by a team of passionate and respectful professionals, at locations throughout the United States. We strive daily to create the best life for all we serve. For more information about Affinity Living Group, visit affinitylivinggroup.com.
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