Joint Statement in Support of COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates for All Workers in Health and Long-Term Care Due to the recent COVID-19 surge and the availability of safe and effective vaccines, our health care organizations and societies advocate that all health care and long-term care employers require their workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 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.
Because of highly contagious variants, including the Delta variant, and significant numbers of unvaccinated people, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are once again rising throughout the United States.1 Vaccination is the primary way to put the pandemic behind us and avoid the return of stringent public health measures.
Unfortunately, many health care and long-term care personnel remain unvaccinated. As we move towards full FDA approval of the currently available vaccines, all healthcare workers should get vaccinated for their own health, and to protect their colleagues, families, residents of long-term care facilities and patients. This is especially necessary to protect those who are vulnerable, including unvaccinated children and the immunocompromised. Indeed, this is why many health care and long-term care organizations already require vaccinations for influenza, hepatitis B, and pertussis. We call for all health care and long-term care employers to require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
We stand with the growing number of experts and institutions that support the requirement for universal vaccination of health workers.2,3 While we recognize some workers cannot be vaccinated because of identified medical reasons and should be exempted from a mandate, they constitute a small minority of all workers. Employers should consider any applicable state laws on a case-by-case basis.
Existing COVID-19 vaccine mandates have proven effective.4,5 Simultaneously, we recognize the historical mistrust of health care institutions, including among many in our own health care workforce.
We must continue to address workers’ concerns, engage with marginalized populations, and work with trusted messengers to improve vaccine acceptance.
As the health care community leads the way in requiring vaccines for our employees, we hope all other employers across the country will follow our lead and implement effective policies to encourage vaccination. The health and safety of U.S. workers, families, communities, and the nation depends on it.
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- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Covid Data Tracker Weekly Review. July 16, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/covidview/index.html [Accessed 26 July 2021].
- Weber, D., Al-Tawfiq, J., Babcock, H., Bryant, K., Drees, M., Elshaboury, R., et al. (2021). Multisociety Statement on COVID-19 Vaccination as a Condition of Employment for Healthcare Personnel. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, 1-46. doi:10.1017/ice.2021.322
- American Hospital Association. AHA Policy Statement on Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination of Health Care Personnel. July 21, 2021. https://www.aha.org/public-comments/2021-07-21-aha-policy-statementmandatory-covid-19-vaccination-health-care
- Bacon J. ‘Condition of employment’: Hospitals in DC, across the nation follow Houston Methodist in requiring vaccination for workers. USA Today. Available from:
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2021/06/10/dc-hospitals-others-follow-houstonmethodist-requiring-vaccination/7633481002/ [Accessed 26 July 2021].
- Paulin E. More Nursing Homes Are Requiring Staff COVID-19 Vaccinations. AARP. Available from: https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/health/info-2021/nursing-homes-covid-vaccine-mandate.html [Accessed 26 July 2021].