[guest post by Dana]
Various health care groups have come out in support of mandatory Covid-19 vaccines for medical personnel:
Medical groups representing millions of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health workers on Monday called for mandatory vaccinations of all U.S. health personnel against the coronavirus, framing the move as a moral imperative as new infections mount sharply.
“We call for all health care and long-term care employers to require their employees to be vaccinated against covid-19,” the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association and 55 other groups wrote in a joint statement shared with The Washington Post. “The health and safety of U.S. workers, families, communities, and the nation depends on it.”
The statement — issued by many groups urging a mandate for the first time — represents an increasingly tough stance by the medical and public health establishment amid the sluggish pace of national vaccinations. It comes as new cases rip through the nation, driven by the hyper-transmissible delta variant. Confirmed coronavirus infections have nearly quadrupled in July, from about 13,000 cases per day at the start of the month to more than 50,000 now, according to The Post’s tracking. Hospital leaders in states such as Alabama, Florida and Missouri have implored holdouts to get vaccinated, citing data that the shots prevent hospitalizations and even death.
Surprisingly, according to the report, many health care workers remain unvaccinated despite the availability of the vaccine:
More than 38 percent of nursing workers were not fully vaccinated as of July 11, despite caring for patients at elevated risk of the coronavirus, according to data collected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and analyzed by LeadingAge, which represents nonprofit nursing homes and other providers of elder care.
And then there is this:
An analysis by WebMD and Medscape Medical News estimated that 25 percent of hospital workers who had contact with patients had not been vaccinated by the end of May.
This seems like a no-brainer to me but given that we read this weekend that that only one in five of the nation’s more than 15,000 nursing homes were able to hit a goal…of vaccinating 75% of their staff by the end of June, apparently it isn’t a no-brainer. But when you are working with vulnerable populations, why would getting a Covid-19 vaccine not be mandatory?
The report spells out why there has not been a move to make the vaccine mandatory for medical personnel until now:
Health-care facilities generally have hesitated to mandate coronavirus vaccines for employees, noting that the vaccines have not yet received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration and citing the threat of lawsuits.
Also announcing mandatory Covid-19 vaccines today is NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio:
All New York City municipal workers — including cops, firefighters and teachers — will have to get vaccinated or submit to weekly coronavirus tests under a new mandate that Mayor de Blasio is expected to announce Monday, according to a City Hall spokesman.
The new mandate — which will cover roughly 300,000 city workers — is set to take effect Sept. 13, the first day of the school year, the spokesman said…
Last week, de Blasio ordered all public hospital and health workers in the city to either get vaccinated or undergo weekly tests starting Aug. 2.
Expectedly, DeBlasio got some pushback from union leaders:
Henry Garrido, executive director of District Council 37 of AFSCME, said, “If City Hall intends to test our members weekly, they must first meet us at the table to bargain.”
Garrido, whose union represents about 100,000 New York City employees across several departments, said weekly testing is subject to mandatory bargaining.
“New York City is a union town and that cannot be ignored,” he said in a statement.
Vaccination rates in NYC remain stuck, with more than 40% of the population still unvaccinated.
More than 161 million Americans, or 49.1% of the total population, are fully vaccinated, per data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC said last week that 97% of people currently hospitalized for the virus are unvaccinated.
Officials have said that about 99% of people who died from the virus had not been vaccinated.
Less than 9% of hospitals have required employees to get vaccinated, according to the American Hospital Association, which announced last week it supports mandating vaccinations for health care workers.
GET VACCINATED ALREADY!