Based on the nature of their work, healthcare workers are already at a higher risk for infectious diseases, and COVID-19 is now on that list. Hospitals and other healthcare organizations follow strict standards to ensure they protect the health and safety of their workforce. The Centers for Disease Control’s recommended vaccinations for healthcare workers is not punitive - it is protective. Doctors, nurses, emergency medical personnel, dental professionals and students, medical and nursing students, pharmacists, technicians, administrative staff, and even volunteers must adhere to their organization’s policy for vaccinations. Requiring all healthcare workers receive the COVID-19 vaccine helps our region ensure the health and safety of our clinical and non-clinical workforce and puts all healthcare organizations on equal ground.
While we await the regulatory details of the new requirement for healthcare workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, I am confident in our region’s hospitals and healthcare organizations’ ability to manage the process for their employees. The groundwork to do so exists because vaccine requirements, exemptions for medical and religious reasons, and acceptance of prior infections through the proof of antibodies or blood titers are already in place. Each year, hospitals must manage vaccine requirements for new employees as well as boosters for existing employees. The federal requirement to include the COVID-19 vaccine in the list of infections we already seek to protect healthcare workers from is a necessary step. Communicable diseases like hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, whooping cough, tetanus, and meningitis are not running rampant in our community.