JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With COVID-19 case counts rising and the rapid spread of the delta variant, Mayo Clinic and dozens of other health care professional societies and organizations on Monday called for all health care employers to require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
More than 50 groups -- including the American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, Association of American Medical Colleges, the National Association for Home Care and Hospice and the Mayo Clinic -- representing millions of workers said mandatory vaccinations for health care workers would protect the safety of patients and residents of long-term care facilities and make the health care sector a leader in COVID-19 vaccination just as cases, hospitalization and deaths are once again rising throughout the United States.
“The health and safety of U.S. workers, families, communities and the nation depends on it,” the joint statement says.
Mayo Clinic says it's requiring #COVID19 vaccination because of increasing cases nationally, poor vaccination rates in many communities, and the threat of variants. Mayo says it's requiring ALL employees to be fully vaccinated OR complete a declination process by Sept. 17. @wjxt4 pic.twitter.com/NG8tBT5D55— Brittany Muller (@BrittMullerNews) July 26, 2021
Mayo Clinic released a statement that they were proud that the “vast majority” of its staff was vaccinated, it would require the rest to be fully vaccinated or complete a “declination process” by Sept. 17. Those who decline must complete an educational module and wear masks at all times while on the Mayo Campus.
“We are grateful for the high percentage of our staff who were vaccinated for COVID-19 before this required program, including over 95% of our physicians,” said Kevin Punsky, communications manager for Mayo.
News4Jax is asking other major Northeast Florida medical centers whether they will join the call for mandatory vaccinations for employees. As of Monday morning, 52% of staff at UF Health Jacksonville was vaccinated and 53% of employees at Baptist Health were documented to be vaccinated. Memorial Hospital and Orange Park Medical Center would not share a percentage but said their rate is above state (48%) and national (49%) averages for fully vaccinated people.
We’re waiting for the latest information from other hospitals in the area.
The AARP reported that only 42% of nursing home workers in the state were fully vaccinated as of June 20 -- well behind the national average of 56% and the second-lowest rate in the nation.
The groups said the endorsement of mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for health care workers aims to protect the safety of patients and residents of long-term care facilities and make the health care sector a leader in COVID-19 vaccination just as cases, hospitalizations and deaths are once again rising throughout the United States.
“With more than 300 million doses administered in the United States and nearly 4 billion doses administered worldwide, we know the vaccines are safe and highly effective,” said Dr. Susan Bailey, pas president of the American Medical Association. “Increased vaccinations among health care personnel will not only reduce the spread of COVID-19 but also reduce the harmful toll this virus is taking within the health care workforce and those we are striving to serve.”
The large medical societies and medical organizations calling for mandatory vaccines represent millions of workers throughout health and long-term care – from doctors and nurses to pharmacists and physician assistants, from public health workers and epidemiologists to long-term care, home care and hospice workers.
“Health care workers have an ethical duty to put patients’ health and well-being first, and getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is integral to that duty,” said Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, vice provost for global initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania, who organized the statement. “Employer vaccine mandates are effective and lifesaving, and they are especially appropriate in health care and long-term care settings. No patient should have to worry that they could become infected by one of their care providers, and no provider should put their patient at risk.”