Dozens of groups representing health care workers in the US have released a joint statement calling for mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for their industry, amid a surge in the Delta variant.
The statement, put out by the American Medical Association and over 50 other groups, urged health care and long-term care facility workers to fulfill their “ethical commitment” to their patients by getting vaccinated.
“[Getting vaccinated] is the logical fulfillment of the ethical commitment of all health care workers to put patients first.”
Thegroupsacknowledge that vaccination rates among nursing home and long care facility workers have been lagging. Recent data has shown that around 59% of these employees have received at least one dose of a vaccine. Analysis in May from WebMD and Medscape Medical News also estimated a quarter of hospital employees who have come into contact with patients have not been vaccinated.
“Unfortunately, many health care and long-term care personnel remain unvaccinated,” the statement reads. “As we move towards full FDA [Food and Drug Administration] approval of the currently available vaccines, all health care workers should get vaccinated for their own health, and to protect their colleagues, families, residents of long-term care facilities and patients.”
They went on to call for employers to “implement effective policies to encourage vaccination.”
While the Biden administration has not signaled that a potential federal vaccination mandate could be coming, they have stepped up their efforts to encourage people to get inoculated as cases have spiked across the country, with some cities such as Los Angeles even reverting to public mask mandates to curb the spread.
Some US employers have already begun offering financial incentives to workers to get vaccinated, and others have already said new hires will be required to be vaccinated, like Delta Airlines.
Ezekiel Emanuel, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania, organized Monday’s statement and claimed that healthcare workers making vaccinations a priority will help the public better trust the vaccine, as inoculation rates have been slipping despite them now being readily available to most.
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“Despite everything – cajoling, making access readily available at any pharmacy, making it free, having the president plead – all of this hasn’t really moved the needle very much in the nation,” he told the Washington Post, adding that the “medical community” needs to lead.
Tracking from the American Hospital Association, which supports vaccine mandates, shows that very few hospitals have actually required vaccinations. With the available vaccines not yet fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), such mandates are a murky proposition and could lead to potential litigation from dissenters.
Outside the US, France has already taken the dive and now legally requires health care workers to get vaccinated. The mandate has seen swift and vocal protests in response. Protesters have been taking to the streets for weeks now to demonstrate against pandemic-era government measures pushing vaccines on citizens – including a “health pass” that will get vaccinated people access to certain venues, such as restaurants and bars.
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