Vaccine mandates and hospitals: 10 numbers to know

To protect vulnerable patients, some hospitals and health systems have required COVID-19 vaccines for all of their employees. From stagnating hospital vaccination rates to the percent of hospitals with flu vaccine mandates, here are 10 numbers that illustrate vaccine mandates in hospitals:

  1. At least 21 hospitals and health systems have mandated vaccines as of June 29.

  2. Houston Methodist has about 26,000 employees. Of those employees, just 178 workers were suspended for not getting the vaccine, and 153 employees resigned or were terminated for failing to comply with the mandate, according to a June 22 Houston Chronicle report.

  3. A lawsuit was filed against the Houston health system by 117 employees, who argued that the mandate is illegal and forces workers to get an experimental vaccine to keep their jobs. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit. 

  4. The University of Louisville (Ky.) Health will require employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Before implementing the mandate, staff vaccination levels stagnated at 70 percent. Philadelphia-based University of Pennsylvania Health System said nearly 70 percent of its staff was vaccinated before its mandate. The District of Columbia Hospital Association also reported COVID-19 vaccines plateaued around 70 percent.

  5. Medical University of South Carolina Health employees had until June 30 to be vaccinated against COVID-19, or obtain a medical or religious exemption, as part of the Charleston-based system's mandate. Of 17,000 employees, 2,000 employees obtained exemptions and 24 employees were not compliant as of June 25.

  6. In the U.S., 69.4 percent of hospitals require annual flu vaccines for all personnel, according to a 2018 report published in JAMA Network Open.

  7. Fifty-eight percent of employed healthcare workers said they would support a mandate for employees who work with patients, according to a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll. Forty-two percent said they would oppose such a requirement.

  8. Among employed healthcare workers who don't plan to or have not decided to get vaccinated, 65 percent said they would leave their job if they were required to get vaccinated.

  9. Staffing shortages in hospitals could be exacerbated by vaccine mandates if employees chose to quit rather than roll up their sleeves. Nearly 1 in 5 hospitals (19 percent) faced a staffing shortage from Nov. 4-11, according to HHS data.

  10. The U.S. could face a shortage of 37,800 to 124,000 physicians by 2034, based on 2020 shortage estimates. In nursing, a Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine formula projects a shortage of 510,394 registered nurses nationwide by 2030. 

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