Large hospital chains abandon vaccination mandates for health workers


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But the legal landscape is confusing at best, with states and local governments often running counter to federal efforts. In Florida, where AdventHealth, HCA and UF Health Jacksonville have all suspended their demands, Gov. Ron DeSantis banned vaccines warrants by private employers shortly after the federal government released its rule for health care workers.

The exact number of healthcare workers yet to be vaccinated is also unclear. While a study by federal researchers found that 30 percent of hospital workers were not fully immunized by mid-September, overall immunization rates have increased in recent months. HCA, which employs around 275,000 workers and operates in 20 states, said most of its workers were fully vaccinated, but would not provide details. Neither AdventHealth nor UF Health Jacksonville would say how many of its employees have been vaccinated. Unlike nursing homes, hospitals are not required to publicly report their immunization rates.

But many hospitals insist they are continuing their efforts to persuade workers. “Based on scientific evidence and what we see in our hospitals every day, Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective in reducing both the risk of infection and the level of harm in the event of a breakthrough infection” AdventHealth said in a statement. .

Hospitals “are totally committed to ensuring that their workforce is vaxxed,” said Chip Kahn, chief executive of the Federation of American Hospitals, which represents for-profit chains like HCA.

Much of the opposition to the requirements is due to concerns over the departure of workers who oppose the vaccine. Many hospital chains said there were few departures, but Mr Kahn stressed that even a small number of quits can be disruptive. “These small numbers can really be a problem,” he said.

Some hospital companies have said they will look for alternatives to ensure patient and employee safety. The Cleveland Clinic, which estimated that nearly 85% of its employees were fully immunized, said it was adding more measures, “including periodic testing for those providing direct clinical care.”

Hospitals that don’t want to insist on vaccinations focus on testing their employees, said Ann Marie Pettis, president of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, which supports a mandate for healthcare workers. “It’s not like they’re just raising their hand and saying it’s a free-for-all,” she said.

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