Dear UHP partners, 

On behalf of our entire UHP team, we wish you and your families health and safety during these times. As a public health organization, we obviously take the COVID-19 pandemic very seriously and we are doing our part to support the health and well-being of our staff, partners, and the communities we serve. Please read below for information on the policies and processes we’ve put in place, as well as, resources for taking care of ourselves and our communities. 

As of October 1, 2021 UHP has instituted a vaccine requirement for all employees barring an approved medical or religious exemption. We have instituted these policies to address:

1) Health and safety of Staff and Staff’s family and loved ones– We want to ensure policies that put health and safety first. This includes making a commitment to one another to support each other’s health and safety and creating a work environment where everyone can more fully trust that commitment. This takes into account that different staff members may have different vulnerabilities, many of which we may not be aware of. We want to reduce exposure to and transmission of COVID19 as much as possible in our work environment as well as reduce the severity of the impact if someone were to contract it. We also want to protect those within our families and our homes that are vulnerable and/or may not have access to a vaccine including children, older adults, and those with medical conditions.

2) UHP’ equity mission focused on community and social responsibility– Our mission is centered around equity and understanding the ways in which our health and safety is interconnected and we all have to do our part. We are committed to promoting health and reducing disparities and harm to the most vulnerable and historically disenfranchised, who we also know have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. COVID19‘s impact has been deeply felt in Florida and the numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have been concerning. As such, we want to reduce exposure and transmission within the communities that we work with and do our best to protect them as we engage with them. We must do our part in protecting and supporting our overburdened healthcare systems so that they can be better equipped to address both COVID19 and non- COVID19 related illness and prevent long-term medical consequences and death due to lack of access to appropriate care. We are also committed to doing everything we can to help end the COVID19 pandemic. The longer it lasts, the deeper the disparities continue to get for the communities we serve- in health, housing, food access, economic stability, employment and so on.

This article written by the A.C.L.U can be particularly helpful in thinking about why vaccination requirements are actually in support of civil liberty and rights for all, something that is very much aligned with UHP’ mission.

3) UHP’ standing as a leader in public health: As a public health organization, we have to follow the science and the public health trends based on that science. As we put our mission into action, including our own work around promoting access to the vaccine, it is critical that we maintain integrity and credibility as an organization. In “practicing what we preach,” we preserve trust and serve as a model to our communities and partners.