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Leading medical groups urge mandatory vaccination for all health care workers

NBC News logo NBC News 7/26/2021 David K. Li
a person wearing a blue hat © Provided by NBC News

Health care employers should mandate vaccinations for all their workers, a coalition of leading medical groups said Monday, as cases of Covid-19 continue to spike across the nation.

While 60 percent of the adult U.S. population has been fully vaccinated, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, millions have still not received those lifesaving shots, leaving the nation vulnerable to the fast-spreading delta variant of the virus.

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"As the health care community leads the way in requiring vaccines for our employees, we hope all other employers across the country will follow our lead and implement effective policies to encourage vaccination," according to a joint statement from 56 health care associations.

"The health and safety of U.S. workers, families, communities, and the nation depends on it."

The coalition includes the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Nursing Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Surgeons and the American Public Health Association.

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Requiring vaccination for employment is the "logical fulfillment of the ethical commitment" to all patients in their care, according to the groups.


Video: How health care workers are being vaccinated in remote area of Uganda (NBC News)

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"Our health care organizations and societies advocate that all health care and long-term care employers require their workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine," they wrote in the joint statement.

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Vaccine mandates continue to be one a hot-button issue for Americans, some of whom have refused to get their shots due to hesitation over its speedy development or misinformation spread on social media.

While the vaccines were developed with unprecedented speed and granted emergency use authorization, trials and ongoing monitoring have shown the inoculations have been very effective in safely preventing the disease or lessening its impact on patients.

Earlier this summer, more than 150 employees at a Houston hospital system who refused to get the Covid vaccine have been fired or resigned after a judge dismissed an employee lawsuit over the vaccine requirement.

And last week, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, in some of the sharpest language yet by a GOP office holder, tore into residents of her state who had refused to get vaccinated.

"But it's time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks," she said. "It's the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down."

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