California To Require Vaccines For (Most) Well being Care Employees : Coronavirus Updates : NPR
A Rhode Island health care worker received a dose of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine last December. California is implementing a vaccination mandate for all paid and unpaid healthcare workers starting September 30th. David Goldman / AP hide caption
David Goldman / AP
David Goldman / AP
California is implementing what is known as the “first in the country” requiring healthcare workers nationwide to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The state is currently seeing the fastest surge in coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, with the number of cases “increasing nine-fold in the past two months,” according to the California Department of Health’s new ordinance.
The CDPH aims to protect the state’s vulnerable populations and maintain health care facilities across the state. According to the ordinance promulgated on Thursday and come into force on the same day, paid and unpaid workers in health facilities must be fully vaccinated by September 30th. The order applies to those who provide services or work in hospitals, care facilities, psychiatric hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices. This includes dialysis centers and substance use treatment centers in residential areas, as well as at least half a dozen other facilities.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced this week that she plans to implement a similar measure. Brown announced Wednesday that it has directed the Oregon Health Authority to issue new rules designed to put pressure on health care workers. You can either get vaccinated by September 30th or have frequent tests for the virus, ”member broadcaster Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.
In California, 63% of residents 12 and older were fully vaccinated and another 10% had received at least one dose by Thursday, the CDPH said. But the rapid rise of the Delta variant worries the state health authorities.
“The new positive cases are increasing in health care workers, although vaccination was a priority for this group when vaccines first became available,” the CDPH said. “The most recent health outbreaks have often been attributed to unvaccinated workers.”
Exceptions: religious beliefs or a qualified illness
Institutions in need of vaccination must check the status of their staff and have a plan to monitor who has and who has not been vaccinated. The proof of vaccination can be in the form of a COVID-19 vaccination pass, health documents or digital records that are accessible via a QR code, or from documents from another employer who requests a vaccination. If a person cannot demonstrate that they received a full dose, facilities must assume that they have not been vaccinated.
However, there are two exceptions: religious beliefs or a qualified illness. Employees who refuse to receive the vaccine due to either method will be excused. Individuals using the medical exemption are not required to disclose their condition, but are required to provide a written statement from a doctor confirming that they will not be able to receive the vaccine and for how long. Unvaccinated workers must be tested for COVID-19 twice a week and must wear a respirator or face mask at all times while working.
California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the order on Thursday via Twitter. Some people cheered the news while others wondered what would happen if enough staff refused to record and instead chose to leave.
NEW: California now requires healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by September 30th.
– Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) August 5, 2021
More than 150 employees quit or were fired after issuing a similar ultimatum. And the nation is already facing a health workforce crisis. A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 3 in 10 medical professionals are considering quitting their jobs because of a pandemic burnout.
Even after the California mandate came into effect, some states are doing everything in their power to prevent compulsory vaccination and have passed laws banning mandates.
There are more than 90,000 new infections per day in the US, the highest daily rate since mid-February. With the rising delta, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is forecasting up to 9,100 new coronavirus deaths by the end of August.