POST 169. June 14, 2021. CORONAVIRUS. “Hospitals in Washington, D.C…announced a consensus agreement to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for more than 30,000 workers, 70% of which are already vaccinated. Each of 14 hospitals will set their own deadline…”

“Labor Department officials…announced a temporary emergency standard to protect health care workers, saying they face “grave danger” in the workplace from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.”

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POST 163. May 23, 2021. CORONAVIRUS. RWJBarnabas Health in New Jersey announced a mandate…saying supervisors and those of higher rank must get the vaccine by June 30. They will eventually require the system’s 35,000 employees to do the same.

POST 167. June 9, 2021. CORONAVIRUS. Hospitals prevaricate on mandatory staff vaccinations.  Florida’s Governor forbids cruise ship vaccine mandates. Pfizer and Moderna apply for FDA full approval.

“The NewYork-Presbyterian hospital system will require all of its 48,000 employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they have a valid exemption, hospital officials announced Friday.

“As a leading health care organization, we believe it is essential to require vaccinations to protect our patients and ourselves against the threat of further harm from the pandemic and the possibility of more dangerous mutations,” Dr. Steven Corwin and Dr. Laura Forese, the president and executive vice president of the 10-campus hospital network, said in an email to staff.

Employees will be required to receive their first vaccine dose by Sept. 1, the officials said, with applications for medical or religious exemptions due Aug. 1.

About 70% of the network’s employees are now vaccinated, a spokesperson said.

NewYork-Presbyterian appears to be the first health care network in the state to mandate vaccinations for staff.

Kenneth Raske, the president of the Greater New York Hospital Association, said he supports the requirement.

Raske said in a statement that every health care organization wants a fully vaccinated work force, “and some may choose to emulate the mandatory approach.”” (A)

(Bruce Farber, MD, is chief of epidemiology and public health at Northwell Health and a member of New York state vaccine task force.)

“Like vaccinations for measles, mumps and hepatitis, the COVID vaccine should be a prerequisite to employment in many schools and in all healthcare facilities

As COVID-19 vaccines become increasingly available to all segments of our population, a real balance must be struck between personal choice and public safety. Nowhere is this issue more significant than in the healthcare community itself…

Clearly, there is precedent to enforce vaccinations among these groups. Educational and healthcare institutions have long required vaccination and testing to prevent the spread of infectious diseases in their spheres. TB testing and vaccinations for measles, mumps, pertussis, and hepatitis are all prerequisites to employment in many schools and in all healthcare facilities. These are mandated by state laws. Many healthcare systems also require Influenza vaccinations for their work force even though those vaccines are not very efficacious…

Healthcare settings present even greater challenges and risks than these other sectors. Hospital-acquired COVID has been present since the beginning of the epidemic and COVID clusters – among patients and staff – remain problematic in hospitals and outpatient facilities. The elderly, children, adults who have refused the vaccine and the immunosuppressed are among the most vulnerable patient populations. Hospitalizations requiring extended stays in large common areas such as ICUs and recovery rooms exacerbate these risks if patients are exposed to large numbers of unvaccinated healthcare workers…

It will be difficult for any single healthcare institution to implement a vaccination mandate unless and until it becomes the common practice. Universal mandates, at the federal level, would certainly be helpful as would a clear directive incorporated into the CDC’s COVID guidelines.

However proposed, there will surely be resistance at first. Yet, like all mandates, it will most likely become accepted as it is incorporated into routine practice. Given the costs of inaction and the benefit of its implementation, the time to mandate vaccinations among healthcare workers is now.” (B)

“While some health systems are mandating vaccines, Northwell Health is not doing so. However, the New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based health system continues to expand our vaccination program, said Barbara Osborn, vice president of public relations.

She said Northwell is welcoming back vaccinated volunteers in hospitals, launching a new requirement for students to be vaccinated, and will require vaccinations for newly hired employees. The health system also anticipates launching a requirement that unvaccinated workers receive regular COVID-19 PCR testing. 

“As New York State’s largest private employer and healthcare provider, we believe it is our obligation to set an example for the community by getting our team members vaccinated,” said Ms. Osborn.

As of June 11, nearly 75 percent of Northwell’s workforce is vaccinated.” (C)

“A Texas hospital has suspended 178 staff members who refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine despite a mandate for staff to be inoculated by this week.

Houston Methodist hospital, which oversees eight hospitals and has more than 26,000 employees, set a Monday deadline for staffers to get the vaccine or risk suspension and termination.

The hospital said Tuesday that 178 full-time or part-time employees, who did not get fully vaccinated and were not granted an exemption or deferral, were suspended for 14 days without pay for not complying with the requirement.

If those suspended do not get vaccinated within the two-week period, they will be terminated, a spokesperson for the hospital told ABC News.

Dr. Marc Boom, the president and CEO of Houston Methodist said in a statement nearly 100% of the hospitals staff was compliant with the mandate and 24,947 were fully vaccinated.

He said of suspended employees, 27 had received one dose of the vaccine, “so I am hopeful they will get their second doses soon.”

“We won’t have the final numbers for two weeks as employees can still get vaccinated with their second dose or with the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine,” Boom said. “I wish the number could be zero, but unfortunately, a small number of individuals have decided not to put their patients first.”

Of all employees, 285 received a medical or religious exemption, and 332 were granted deferrals for pregnancy and other reasons, he said.

“This decision was ultimately made for our patients, as they are at the center of everything we do at Houston Methodist,” he said in the statement.

Last month, 117 Houston Methodist employees sued the hospital for mandating the vaccine. The lawsuit, filed in Montgomery County, alleged the hospital was “illegally requiring its employees to be injected with an experimental vaccine as a condition of employment.” (D)

“The pushback against IU Health’s latest vaccine mandate is growing amongst employees.

Since the announcement that all employees will have to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 1, a petition has garnered thousands of signatures and a protest has been planned in hopes of changing the requirement.

IU Health employees and other health care workers from across the state are planning to protest at 3 p.m. Saturday on the canal, behind IU Fairbanks Hall. Protest organizers tell News 8 they are hoping not only to change IU Health’s decision but also the decisions of health care facilities across the country.

“This is not at all a pro versus anti-vaccine issue. It is very much a freedom issue,” said Staley.

Staley says that their goal is to not only change the IU Health mandate but also to prevent other employers from requiring the COVID-19 vaccine.

“So really the main point that we want to drive home is just that we all deserve rights to bodily autonomy. We all deserve medical freedom. We should be able to make our own choices and we should not have our livelihood threatened as a result of not complying,” said Staley.” (E)

“A federal judge on Saturday dismissed a lawsuit brought by 117 Houston Methodist staff over the hospital’s policy requiring all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Why it matters: This is the first federal court ruling on a coronavirus vaccine mandate. Attorney Jared Woodfill, representing the plaintiffs, told KHOU 11 it’s “the first battle in a long fight,” as he vowed to file another lawsuit soon.

Driving the news: U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes noted in the ruling that the federal government has advised that companies can require workers to get vaccines.

He rejected the lawsuit’s argument that the mandate of the hospital in Houston, Texas, was unlawful.

“This is not coercion,” Hughes said. “Methodist is trying to do their business of saving lives without giving them the COVID-19 virus. It is a choice made to keep staff, patients and their families safer.”…

The judge said the public interest in “caring for patients during a pandemic far outweighs protecting the vaccination preferences of 116 employees,” noting the staff were “jeopardizing” their own health” and that of others.” (H)

“Two Baltimore-based institutions — the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) and John Hopkins Medicine — recently announced vaccine mandates.

“Scientific evidence tells us that from a safety and efficacy standpoint, COVID-19 vaccines represent a dramatic accomplishment and a clear pathway out of this pandemic,” Dr. Mohan Suntha, president and CEO of UMMS, said Wednesday in a statement.

UMMS, which employs nearly 30,000 people and runs 13 hospitals and more than 100 urgent care centers, is requiring managers and those in higher positions to be vaccinated by August 1. Other employees are required by UMMS to be fully vaccinated by September.

Johns Hopkins is also requiring workers to be fully vaccinated by September, with 75% already meeting the mandate, according to Dr. Paul Rothman, dean of the medical faculty for the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine.

“To avoid a rise in viral transmission as restrictions are lifted, we need as many people vaccinated as possible,” he stated.

Another Maryland health system, Annapolis-based Luminis Health, is opting against mandating the shots, so long as they are only authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to the Capital Gazette…

Hospitals in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday announced a consensus agreement to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for more than 30,000 workers, 70% of which are already vaccinated. Each of 14 hospitals will set their own deadline… 

The federal agency overseeing workplace discrimination rules has a different view. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently reiterated its stance that employers are allowed to require COVID-19 vaccines.

The federal government is not mandating vaccination, but “for some health care workers or essential employees, a state or local government or employer, for example, may require or mandate that workers be vaccinated as a matter of state or other law,” according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” (F)

“Labor Department officials on Thursday announced a temporary emergency standard to protect health care workers, saying they face “grave danger” in the workplace from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The new standard would require employers to remove workers who have covid-19 from the workplace, notify workers of covid exposure at work and strengthen requirements for employers to report worker deaths or hospitalizations to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

“These are the workers who continue to go into work day in and day out to take care of us, to save our lives,” said Jim Frederick, acting assistant secretary of Labor for occupational safety and health. “And we must make sure we do everything in our power to return the favor to protect them.”

The new rules are set to take effect immediately after publication in the Federal Register and are expected to affect about 10.3 million health care workers nationwide.

The government’s statement of reasons for the new rules cites the work of KHN and The Guardian in tallying more than 3,600 health care worker covid deaths through April 8. Journalists documented far more deaths than the limited count by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which through May tallied 1,611 deaths on case-reporting forms that were often incomplete.”  (G)



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