Nurses Union Urges Rhode Islanders To Get Vaccinated

·2 min read

PROVIDENCE, RI — As Rhode Island health care workers struggle through the ongoing omicron COVID-19 surge, the state's largest nurses union is urging the public to do their part to prevent overcrowding in hospitals. On Thursday, the United Nurses and Allied Professionals launched a new public campaign aimed at Rhode Islanders vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 if they haven't done so already.

The union represents more than 7,000 nurses and health care workers, those working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. Two years into the pandemic, these workers are struggling to meet the needs of increased hospitalizations while also contending with professional burnout and staffing shortages.

Union President Lynn Blais, a nurse, said the initiative aims to "help unvaccinated and unboosted Rhode Islanders understand that the impact of not getting the vaccine and/or the booster goes far beyond their own personal interest."

"The majority of COVID patients in our ERs and ICUs are unvaccinated and it’s impacting our hospitals’ ability to deliver quality care," Blais said. "It’s exacerbated the staffing shortage that was already at crisis levels even before the pandemic. The end result is, unvaccinated people continue to be sick and take up hospital beds, Rhode Islanders with other medical issues can’t get the care they need and deserve, and our frontline caregivers are the ones who bear the brunt of it."

The campaign features videos of health care workers sharing their testimonials and explaining the toll the pandemic has taken on themselves and their colleagues.

"As the union representing frontline healthcare workers, we feel it’s important for us to help tell the stories of the people we represent, so Rhode Islanders can hear it first-hand," Blais explained. "We have been asked time and again how we propose solving the staffing crisis in our hospitals. And while there are a lot of actions the hospitals and state can take that tinker around the edges, the only real way to solve this immediate crisis is to get more people vaccinated and boosted to keep the number of admissions down."

Learn more and watch the testimonial videos on the campaign's website.

"No one understands the devastating toll that COVID-19 has taken more than nurses and health professionals, and we hope you’ll watch these videos and get a better understanding of what it’s like to be on the front lines of this pandemic response," Blais concluded. "An individual who gets vaccinated not only protects themselves, but they also protect their fellow Rhode Islanders, including frontline healthcare workers."

Rhode Islanders can get vaccinated at retail pharmacies, state-sponsored vaccine sites and pop-up community clinics. Find a vaccine site near you using Rhode Island's vaccine finder.

This article originally appeared on the Cranston Patch

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