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CEO DATELINE – Two hospital groups back mandating vaccines for health care workers

By Kathryn Walson

July 22, 2021

The American Hospital Association and America’s Essential Hospitals announced in separate statements that they support their members making COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for employees.

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“The AHA supports hospitals and health systems that choose, based on local factors, to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for their workforce,” AHA CEO Rick Pollack said Wednesday in a statement. “Doing so will help protect the health and well-being of healthcare personnel and the patients and communities they proudly serve.”

Bruce Siegel, CEO of America’s Essential Hospitals, said Thursday in a statement: “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.”

America’s Essential Hospitals’ members include 325 public and nonprofit systems with a mission to serve communities facing social and economic hardship.

For hospitals and health systems requiring the shot, AHA advises providing exemptions for medical reasons and accommodations consistent with federal guidelines and ensuring the policy aligns with local and state laws. AHA represents nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks and other providers of care.

AHA also advises hospitals and health systems mandating the vaccine to provide scheduling flexibility to ensure staff have time to obtain the vaccine and recover from possible side effects.

In a July 13 statement, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America and six other medical groups representing infectious disease experts said hospitals and other health care facilities should require workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment. The Association of American Medical Colleges on July 16 urged its member institutions to require vaccinations for employees.