Jul 26, 2021 - Health

Over 50 medical groups call for mandatory vaccinations for health care workers

Illustration of syringes as darts missing a target made to look like a health plus.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

More than 50 medical groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association, called for U.S. health workers to be required to take the COVID-19 vaccine in a joint statement Monday.

Why it matters: Mainstream groups representing millions of medical workers are taking a harder line on the issue of mandatory vaccines, as the pace of shots stalls and the Delta variant drives a national surge in coronavirus infections.

What they're saying: "We call for all health care and long-term care employers to require their employees to be vaccinated against covid-19,” the groups wrote. "The health and safety of U.S. workers, families, communities, and the nation depends on it.”

Between the lines: In a study of roughly 28,000 vaccinated health care workers in India — where the Delta variant caused some of the largest spikes of the entire pandemic — just 5% developed symptomatic infections after being vaccinated. Only 83 people had to be admitted to a hospital, and none died.

State of play: More than 161 million Americans, or 49.1% of the total population, are fully vaccinated, per data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • The CDC said last week that 97% of people currently hospitalized for the virus are unvaccinated. Officials have said that about 99% of people who died from the virus had not been vaccinated.
  • Less than 9% of hospitals have required employees to get vaccinated, according to the American Hospital Association, which announced last week it supports mandating vaccinations for health care workers.

Go deeper: COVID cases are up 55% across the U.S.

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