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Berkshire Health Systems mandates bivalent booster

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Berkshire Health Systems mandates bivalent booster

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (NEWS10) — Employees of Berkshire Health Systems (BHS) have until the end of December to get the most recent booster shot. In confirming the mandate, spokesperson Michael Leary told NEWS10 that the measure was taken to protect both staffers and patients.

“Masking and other protocols are good tools for reducing the risk of COVID-19’s spread,” said Leary in a statement. “The effectiveness of these preventative measures is further enhanced by both an initial vaccination and the bivalent booster, which have proven to be safe and effective at preventing the transmission of COVID-19 and/or lessening the severity of the illness. Receiving the bivalent booster, which covers the two variants that are most prominent right now is also important for keeping everyone who enters our facilities safe.”

The mandate applies to the company’s 3,000-plus employees and any vendors or contractors on BHS campuses. Excluding those with exemptions, staffers who fail to comply with the mandate will be suspended without pay, according to Leary.

Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Health recommend that all who are eligible stay “up to date” with their COVID-19 vaccinations by receiving the newest bivalent booster formulations. Vice President of Human Resources at BHS, Patrick Borek, says the company is “joining healthcare workers across the state in adding the bivalent booster to [its] employee requirements.”