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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.

Go deeper

Sep 17, 2021 - Health

CDC: Moderna vaccine most effective against hospitalization in U.S.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Overall healthy adults with the Moderna COVID vaccine had 93% vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization over five months compared to those with 88% protection with Pfizer and 71% from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a new report out Friday from the CDC shows.

Why it matters: The report comes as the Food and Drug Administrations meets Friday to consider whether to endorse a contentious plan for booster shots among the fully vaccinated.

Updated Sep 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Key FDA committee takes on the big booster question — Los Angeles County to require vaccination proof at indoor bars — France suspends 3,000 unvaccinated health workers without pay.
  2. Health: Worsening crisis at Rikers Island jail spurs call for action — 1 in 500 Americans has died — Cases are falling, but deaths are rising.
  3. Politics: White House invites call with Nicki Minaj to discuss vaccine — Gottlieb says CDC hampered U.S. response — 26 states have limited state or local officials' public health powers.
  4. Education: Denver looks to students to close Latino vaccination gap — Federal judge temporarily blocks Iowa's ban on mask mandates in schools — Massachusetts activates National Guard to help with school transportation.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Sep 17, 2021 - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.