FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Statement attributable to:
Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH
President and CEO
America’s Essential Hospitals
WASHINGTON — With the rapid spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant, spiking infection rates, and persistent gaps in vaccination that put millions of people at risk nationally, we urge our member hospitals to require vaccination for their employees, for their protection and the safety of patients.
Health care professionals and other dedicated essential hospital staff have led the nation’s response to COVID-19, and they can lead the way to recovery by making a strong and unequivocal statement on the value of vaccination. We must protect patients and keep our front-line caregivers on the job and their families safe. Vaccination is the surest way to do that.
The nation remains in the grip of COVID-19. The most recent seven-day moving average of daily COVID-19 cases — more than 26,000 — increased by 70 percent over the previous seven-day average, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky says COVID-19 has become the “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” and she reports more than 97 percent of people currently hospitalized for severe COVID-19 infections were unvaccinated.
As new cases surge, we still face a significant shortfall in vaccinations nationally, with less than half the country fully vaccinated and only slightly more than half with at least one dose of the vaccine. We also face continuing inequities in COVID-19 hospitalizations, deaths, and vaccination rates that fall along racial and ethnic lines. By requiring vaccination for all employees, essential hospitals can set the example we need to improve those numbers, turn back the pandemic’s latest assault, and build equity for all people.
The evidence is compelling and clear: Available vaccines are safe and effective at preventing COVID-19 disease, especially the severe illness and death it can cause. Vaccines also reduce the risk people will spread the virus that causes COVID-19, a priority for those who work in our member hospitals, to the patients under their care, and to their families and friends. We have lost too many of our caregivers to COVID-19. Vaccination can reduce the risk we lose more.
Essential hospitals are vital to the country’s fight against COVID-19. With policies to keep their employees healthy, our hospitals can remain on the front lines of the pandemic and continue serving communities throughout the public health emergency and beyond. We urge all our hospitals to take quick action, consistent with federal and state guidance and laws, to require vaccination for their employees.
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About America’s Essential Hospitals
America’s Essential Hospitals is the leading champion for hospitals and health systems dedicated to high-quality care for all, including the most vulnerable. We support our more than 300 members with advocacy, policy development, research, and education. Communities depend on essential hospitals to provide specialized, lifesaving services; train the health care workforce; advance public health and health equity; and coordinate care. Essential hospitals innovate and adapt to lead the way to more effective and efficient care. Learn more at essentialhospitals.org.