The number of coronavirus infections is rising in nearly every state, thanks in large part to the highly contagious delta variant, and vaccinations continue to plateau; now more than 50 major medical groups are calling on health care and long-term care facilities to mandate employees be vaccinated to slow the spread.
“This is the logical fulfillment of the ethical commitment of all health care workers to put patients as well as residents of long-term care facilities first and take all steps necessary to ensure their health and well-being,” the joint statement says, of requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
"The health and safety of U.S. workers, families, communities, and the nation depends on it."
The statement was signed by the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Nursing Association, among dozens of other nationwide medical industry groups.
“Vaccination is the primary way to put the pandemic behind us and avoid the return of stringent public health measures," the statement added.
They urge health care workers to get vaccinated to protect themselves, “their colleagues, families, residents of long-term care facilities, and patients,” saying it is especially necessary to protect unvaccinated children and those who cannot get the vaccine for medical reasons.
“Indeed, this is why many health care and long-term care organizations already require vaccinations for influenza, hepatitis B, and pertussis,” the statement reads.
Data from the Department of Health and Human Services at the end of May found nearly 25% of hospital workers who have direct contact with patients had not received a single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
An analysis of the data found that percentage is higher at the country’s 50 largest hospital systems, with about 33% of patient-facing employees unvaccinated.
Houston Methodist Hospital was one of the first to mandate its employees get the shot and by June, 99% of their staff was vaccinated.