Tens of thousands of medical workers across the United States are being told they need to be vaccinated againstto remain employed.
The scenario is well underway in Texas, where nearly 200 hospital staff have beenby Houston Methodist, the first hospital system in the country to require the injections. Houston Methodist – a large medical center and six community hospitals – said nearly 25,000 of its employees were fully immune to the coronavirus as of Monday’s deadline.
While Houston Methodist was the first to take the plunge, many other medical institutions have followed suit. Health care workers in Indiana, Maryland and Pennsylvania face looming delays in getting fully immunized against a virus that has killed nearly 600,000 Americans.
Two Baltimore-based institutions – the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) and John Hopkins Medicine – are among the latest to announce vaccination mandates.
“Scientific evidence tells us that from a safety and efficacy standpoint, COVID-19 vaccines represent a spectacular achievement and a clear path out of this pandemic,” Dr Mohan Suntha, chairman, said Wednesday. director general of UMMS, in a press release.
UMMS, which employs nearly 30,000 people and operates 13 hospitals and more than 100 emergency care centers, requires executives and people in senior positions to be immunized by August 1. UMMS requires other employees to be fully immunized by September.
Johns Hopkins also requires workers to be fully immunized by September, with 75% already fulfilling the mandate, according to Dr. Paul Rothman, dean of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine.
“To avoid an increase in viral transmission as the restrictions are lifted, we need as many people as possible to be vaccinated,” he said.
Another Maryland health care system, Annapolis-based Luminis Health, chooses not to force injections, as long as they are only cleared for emergency use by the State Food and Drug Administration, according to the Capital Gazette. -United.
The 16,000 employees of the Indianapolis-based Community Health Network have until Sept. 15 to get vaccinated, which 60% have already done, the medical system said on Thursday in announcing its demand.
Indiana University Health is giving its 36,000 employees until September 1 to get vaccinated, which 61% have already done. Yet, like in Houston Methodist, some hospital workers do not take vaccination orders in stride.
“Neither new nor unprecedented”
An online petition protesting against IU Health’s mandate has garnered more than 10,000 signatures. Opponents are planning a protest on Saturday in hopes of getting the healthcare provider to reconsider its decision, IU Health employee Traci Staley told an NBC affiliate in Fort Wayne. Staley started a Facebook group for workers against the vaccine requirement.
IU Health says its policy is not new.
“Requiring vaccinations for healthcare workers is neither new nor unprecedented. IU Health has required the flu vaccine since 2012, along with several other vaccines as a condition of employment,” said a spokesperson for the operator of 15 hospitals and dozens of outpatient clinics in a statement. e-mail to CBS MoneyWatch.
IU Health’s tenure came as Indiana University relaxed its previous stance on vaccinations, making it optional for students and employees to show proof of COVID-19 injections. The change came after criticism from many state officials.
Elsewhere, the University of Pennsylvania health care system is giving its roughly 44,000 workers until Sept. 1 to be fully immunized and will not hire unvaccinated people from July 1, the UPHS said. About 33,000 of its employees had already rolled up their sleeves for the shootings at the end of May, he added.
Some employees at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health – four hospitals that are part of the Philadelphia-based University of Pennsylvania Health System – have filed a petition against it, according to LancasterOnline.
“We believe that individuals should be able to choose for themselves whether or not to be vaccinated – not their employer,” Eric Winter, a lawyer advising employees of Lancaster General, told the outlet.
The federal agency that oversees workplace discrimination rules has a different point of view. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently reiterated its position that employers are allowed to demand COVID-19 vaccines.
The federal government does not mandate vaccination, but “for certain healthcare workers or essential employees, a state or local government or employer, for example, may require or require that workers be vaccinated under state or other law, “according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.