ACS joins call for COVID-19 vaccine mandates for all health care workers

More than 50 health care professional societies and organizations called for all health care employers to require their employees to be vaccinated against coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) in a joint statement. These societies and organizations represent millions of workers throughout health and long-term care—from physicians, surgeons, and nurses to pharmacists and physician assistants, and from public health workers and epidemiologists to long-term care, home care, and hospice workers.

Their 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 U.S.

“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 Ezekiel Emanuel, MD, PhD, vice-provost for global initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 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 patients at risk.”

Although vaccination rates among health care workers have been better than that of the general population, by the end of May, one in four hospital workers had not been vaccinated. This leaves patients—especially unvaccinated children, the elderly, and the immunocompromised—facing a growing risk of infection as the Delta variant surges. If implemented, this mandate would cover 17 million health care workers.

“The COVID-19 vaccines are one of the best tools we have to end the pandemic. For the health and safety of patients, surgeons, and health care workers everywhere, we call for surgeons and health care workers to receive their vaccines and do their part in helping their patients get vaccinated,” said ACS Executive Director, David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS.

The statement is reproduced here.

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