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Medical groups call for mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for healthcare workers

A patient reacts while receiving the Moderna vaccine at a pop-up vaccination site in New York City earlier this month. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
A patient reacts while receiving the Moderna vaccine at a pop-up vaccination site in New York City earlier this month. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

July 26 (UPI) -- More than 50 major healthcare groups on Monday called for employers to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for health and long-term care workers.

"Unfortunately, many health and long-term care personnel remain unvaccinated," a statement from the groups said. "As we move towards full [Food and Drug Administration] 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."

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Longstanding associations representing physicians and nurses on the frontlines of the pandemic across the nation, such as the America Medical Association, and the American Nurses Association, were among the more than 50 signatories of the joint statement.

The healthcare groups emphasized the necessity of vaccinations to protect vulnerable unvaccinated children and immunocompromised.

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They added that they must continue to work with "trusted messengers" to improve acceptance of vaccines in marginalized populations because they "recognize the historic mistrust of healthcare institutions."

The statement noted that existing vaccine mandates in hospitals and nursing homes have proven effective.

It comes after Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky warned recently that COVID-19 was becoming "a pandemic of the unvaccinated."

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The CDC chief explained that there was a rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths due to the Delta variant, especially among the unvaccinated population. The healthcare groups called for the vaccine mandates in the joint statement Monday at least in part because of this rise.

"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," the statement read. "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."

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