The American Pharmacists Association has joined more than 50 other healthcare organizations to urge all healthcare employers to require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The endorsement looks to make the healthcare sector a leader in COVID-19 vaccination just as cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are once again rising throughout the United States.
“Employers have a fundamental responsibility to take all reasonable measures to ensure the safety and well-being of their employees and the people they serve,” said APhA president Sandra Leal. “Due to the nature of the times we live in, this must include requiring their employees be vaccinated, to protect themselves and others from the COVID-19 virus.”
These societies and organizations represent millions of workers throughout health and long-term care – from doctors and nurses to pharmacists and physician assistants, from public health workers and epidemiologists to home care and hospice workers.
"Due to the recent COVID-19 surge and the availability of safe and effective vaccines, our healthcare organizations and societies advocate that all healthcare and long-term care employers require their workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine," a joint statement from the organizations said. "This is the logical fulfillment of the ethical commitment of all healthcare workers to put patients as well as residents of long-term care facilities first and take all steps necessary to ensure their health and well-being."
Signatories include the National Pharmaceutical Association; the American Academy of Family Physicians; the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy; the American College of Clinical Pharmacy; the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists; the HIV Medicine Association; and Infectious Diseases Society of America.
"Because of highly contagious variants, including the Delta variant, and significant numbers of unvaccinated people, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are once again rising throughout the United States. Vaccination is the primary way to put the pandemic behind us and avoid the return of stringent public health measures," the statement read.
"Unfortunately, many healthcare and long-term care personnel remain unvaccinated. As we move towards full FDA approval of the currently available vaccines, all healthcare workers should get vaccinated for their own health, and to protect their colleagues, families, residents of long-term care facilities and patients. This is especially necessary to protect those who are vulnerable, including unvaccinated children and the immunocompromised. Indeed, this is why many healthcare and long-term care organizations already require vaccinations for influenza, hepatitis B, and pertussis," the statement continued.
"The organization stands with the growing number of experts and institutions that support the requirement for universal vaccination of health workers. "While we recognize some workers cannot be vaccinated because of identified medical reasons and should be exempted from a mandate, they constitute a small minority of all workers. Employers should consider any applicable state laws on a case-by-case basis."
The statement concluded, "Existing COVID-19 vaccine mandates have proven effective. Simultaneously, we recognize the historical mistrust of healthcare institutions, including among many in our own healthcare workforce. We must continue to address workers’ concerns, engage with marginalized populations, and work with trusted messengers to improve vaccine acceptance. As the healthcare 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 ensure vaccination. The health and safety of U.S. workers, families, communities, and the nation depends on it."