40% of US hospitals have vaccination requirements, White House reports

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In about six months, about 2,500 hospitals, or 40 percent of them in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, have said they are requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for their employees.

That's the estimate as of Oct. 7, per a 26-page report from the White House, which touts mandates as helping vaccinate more Americans. 

Houston Methodist rolled out its mandatory vaccination policy March 31, the first health system to mandate vaccination of its workforce.

The White House report says a significant increase in health systems adopting similar policies followed in July and August. The Department of Veterans Affairs was the first federal agency to mandate vaccination. California, New York and Washington are requiring all healthcare workers to get vaccinated, and Delaware and Illinois are requiring healthcare workers to get vaccinated, with a test-out option, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

With these mandates, there has been an uptick in vaccination rates, the White House notes, citing Houston Methodist, where nearly all the system's employees got vaccinated, but 153 of them either resigned during a two-week suspension period or were terminated June 22 for not complying with the mandate.

At Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System, where more than 30,000 of the system's 33,000-person workforce were vaccinated as of Oct. 5., about 1,900 workers obtained exemptions from Henry Ford's mandate, according to the report. 

"Healthcare worker vaccination requirements have been shown to work time and time again," the White House report stated. "They boost vaccination rates and result in limited resignations and dismissals. They are an essential tool to help protect U.S. patients and healthcare personnel."

The White House report was released the same day that President Joe Biden, during a speech in the Chicago area, promoted vaccination requirements for private employers, according to ABC News.

In September, President Biden announced that his administration's multipronged pandemic approach would require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their staff are fully vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.

The administration also is requiring federal executive branch workers and employees of contractors that do business with the federal government to be vaccinated, with limited medical and religious exemptions. 

CMS said it will require COVID-19 vaccinations for more than 17 million healthcare workers at Medicare- and Medicaid-participating hospitals and in other healthcare settings.

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