COVID-19 Mandate: 17 million health care workers must be vaccinated by Jan. 4

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vaccine

Last week (Thursday 4th November), the Biden administration started the clock on a 2-month countdown that aims to have 17 million healthcare workers vaccinated for Covid-19, with full immunization in place by January 4th, 2022.

No small order, I think you’ll agree.

The vaccine mandate for health workers will affect workers across 76,000 hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care facilities across the USA.

The aim is a simple one; to reduce the number of unvaccinated workers in healthcare in order to prevent workers and patients from getting sick with Covid-19.

According to the President, Health care workers are dealing with more stringent rules when compared to the business sector, due to their critical role in ensuring the health and safety of patients.

Only those that qualify for exemption because of medical or religious reasons will be able to skip the immunization.

Choose not to be immunized and your career as a professional healthcare worker will soon be over.

Employees of health care facilities have a choice between two doses of Pfizer or Moderna. The dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is also valid.

The mandate is sweeping, to say the least. All facilities that take payments from Medicare or Medicaid will have to abide by the ruling.

This includes many of the nation’s hospitals, nursing homes, ambulatory surgical centers, dialysis centers, and home health agencies.

It also applies to non-front line personal. If you work for a valid facility and/or institution, as a student, trainee, or volunteer, you will also need to be vaccinated by Jan. 4th.

None of this comes as a surprise of course. The regulations stem from the announcement earlier in September that all hospitals and health facilities that take Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement must vaccinate their staff.

vaccine jab

As we all know, there have been protests and a relatively slow uptake among some ranks of healthcare workers, and the mandate is in place to combat this.

The government is taking a pragmatic approach to some degree, however. Reiterating that the federal regulations are there to ensure health providers comply with the new vaccines rules, they are not there “to punish workers for health care facilities.”

That being said, a senior administration official went in to say: “we will not hesitate to use our full enforcement authority to protect the health and safety of patients,”.

Some states haven’t waited for Federal action of course. New York and California enacted mandatory vaccination for health care workers several months ago.

This has seen the dismissal and suspension of workers who have refused to comply, (adding to the already large problem of staff shortages during the pandemic).

These measures have been successful towards their aims, however. One example is Trinity Health, a large Catholic health system in 22 states. After initializing mandating shots for workers, they saw their vaccination rate go from 75% to 96%.

I personally support the view of The American Hospital Association.

After the full terms of the Biden Administration mandatory vaccination program for healthcare workers was released they stated that the policy seems “feasible, transparent and fair” for all relevant health providers.

The two-month countdown has begun, it will be interesting to see the results of the mandate by the 4th of January deadline.

About Hannah Drake

Hannah Drake, RN, CSP is a registered nurse and owner and founder of Nurse Focus. Her nursing career spans almost two decades, and in that time she has developed her skill base across a variety of settings, including med surg nursing, clinical informatics system administration and implementation, and healthcare community management. Contact Hannah.

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