August 31, 2021
Message from the CEO
I hope this message finds you in good health.
Since the beginning of the pandemic AbilityFirst has put the wellbeing of individuals who participate in our services, their families, our employees and our community front and center. Throughout the pandemic we continued to help individuals find much needed jobs and supported essential workers through job coaching, found new ways to support our group home residents who had to stay home, and shifted to support many participants through creative and engaging virtual programming. None of this would have been possible without the support from our participants and their families.
It is encouraging that the Pfizer vaccine now has full FDA approval and to see the very high vaccination rate for our AbilityFirst team, with almost 95% of employees fully vaccinated. I strongly believe being vaccinated is the only way we can safely continue and expand in-person programs for the hundreds of individuals who rely on us, many of whom are at high risk of serious illness if they get COVID and who may not be able to be vaccinated themselves.
We have decided to make the COVID vaccine mandatory for all current and newly hired AbilityFirst employees, apart from some required exceptions. Employees must be vaccinated by October 15th. Additionally, we continue to follow public health guidelines and state mandates with regard to testing, masks, hand washing, cleaning, and other requirements.
I know that many of us continue to deal with very challenging circumstances related to the pandemic. While there is much that remains outside of our control, I am proud of our staff and the way we continue to take care of each other while helping one another through these difficult times.
I hope this policy will give everyone greater peace of mind as we offer more in-person services. Seeing how happy our participants are receiving in-person services these past few weeks has filled me with optimism, and I’m looking forward to brighter days ahead.
P.S. If you or your family need assistance in getting a COVID vaccine visit www.myturn.ca.gov or contact one of our program staff. You can also call the Department of Public Health Vaccine Center at 833-540-0473. They can arrange in-home vaccination, free transportation to a vaccination site, or help with paratransit and other services for people with disabilities.