Health systems eye staggered schedule and end-of-week COVID-19 shots to mitigate workforce shortages

With COVID-19 vaccines closer to reality, health systems are planning how they will approach inoculating their employees, while considering vaccines' potential side effects that could sideline workers and create staffing shortages. To help reduce the risk of shortages, health systems are looking at various approaches, such as staggering the dates vaccines are given to workers and end-of-shift shots for workers, according to Bloomberg.

These considerations come as Pfizer and Moderna seek emergency FDA approval for their vaccine candidates. 

A CDC panel has said long-term care residents and healthcare workers should be the first to receive vaccines, according to The New York Times.

It is unclear how widespread side effects, such as fevers and chills, or headaches and joint pain, could be among healthcare workers, Bloomberg reported. But health systems are preparing for the possibility that healthcare workers could be forced to spend days away from their jobs if they experience side effects after being inoculated.

Salt Lake City-based University of Utah Health is planning to stagger employee vaccinations.

"For example, they would not vaccinate all employees who work in the same unit on the same day because it's expected that a certain small percentage will have side effects that are typical of many vaccines but that may keep them home. These include mild fever that is short-lived or pain at the site of injection. Staggering the vaccinations will help spread that out over time," spokesperson Julie Kiefer told Becker's.

Meanwhile, Intermountain Healthcare, also based in Salt Lake City, is considering having employees receive vaccines on the last day of their weekly shift, before a weekend when they have time off. 

Spokesperson Lance Madigan told Becker's this is so any employees who do feel sick from vaccine side effects have time to recover before returning to their shifts.

Read the full Bloomberg article here


More articles on workforce:
Strained Wisconsin hospitals asking staff to return to work during quarantine
Hospital demand for travel nurses intensifies as COVID-19 surges: 5 notes
COVID-19 sidelines over 100 New Jersey hospital workers

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