Dozens of major medical groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, are calling for employers to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for all health care workers.
“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,” the groups wrote in a July 26 statement (pdf).
They argued that because of the “Delta” variant, which is believed to be more contagious, and more reports of COVID-19 hospitalizations, health care settings should make vaccines mandatory. An increase in vaccinations, the statement says, will prevent the possibility of more lockdowns or other COVID-19-related orders.
Their statement made no mention of individuals who had already contracted COVID-19 but recovered and developed natural immunity. Because health care workers come into frequent contact with COVID-19 cases, previous studies have shown they are more likely to have contracted the virus.
Another study from the National Institutes of Health showed that those who recovered from the virus had a “lasting immunity” to the pathogen because, as the agency noted, “after people recover from infection with a virus, the immune system retains a memory of it” and “immune cells and proteins that circulate in the body can recognize and kill the pathogen if it’s encountered again, protecting against disease and reducing illness severity.”
Meanwhile, a number of workers in the health care field aren’t vaccinated, according to data collected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and analyzed by LeadingAge, reported the Washington Post. About 38 percent of nursing home staff, for example, weren’t vaccinated as of July 11, the data shows.
A recent analysis by WebMD and Medscape revealed that an estimated 25 percent of hospital workers who had regular contact with patients weren’t fully vaccinated. About 56 percent of Americans aged 12 and older are fully vaccinated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in July.
Ezekiel Emanuel, a University of Pennsylvania bioethicist who organized the joint statement released on July 26, told the Washington Post that he believes mandating vaccines among health care workers will boost the overall uptake in Americans getting the vaccine.
“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 paper on July 26.
Weeks ago, the largest union of health care workers in the United States, 1199SEIU, said it opposed mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for employees.
“Whether there is a legal challenge that we can make, or whether it’s just a pure organizational challenge that we can make, we are not going to just give in,” George Gresham, the head of the union, told local news website Gothamist in June. The Epoch Times has contacted the 1199SEIU for comment.
It comes as protests erupted across the UK, Ireland, Italy, France, Greece, and elsewhere over the past weekend over vaccine mandates. European leaders have proposed vaccine passport-like systems to mandate that people show whether they’re vaccinated or have tested negative for COVID-19 before entering certain businesses or public spaces.
COVID-19 is the illness caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.