Major Medical Groups Call for Mandatory Vaccines for All Healthcare Workers

Dozens of healthcare organizations called for mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for all healthcare workers on Monday amid rising concerns of the Delta variant.

American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, American Nursing Association, American Psychiatric Association and 53 other medical associations released a joint statement urging hospitals to require employees to get vaccinated.

"We call for all health care and long-term care employers to require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19," the statement read. "We stand with the growing number of experts and institutions that support the requirement for universal vaccination of health workers."

The groups expressed their concern for the increasing spread of the Delta variant as well as the discouraging vaccination numbers. The combination of the two has led to increased hospitalizations and deaths, and "vaccination is the primary way to put the pandemic behind us," according to the statement.

"Increased vaccinations among health care personnel will not only reduce the spread of COVID-19 but also reduce the harmful toll this virus is taking within the health care workforce and those we are striving to serve," said Susan R. Bailey, M.D., immediate past president of the American Medical Association.

Covid-19 Vaccine
Over 50 medical organizations released a joint statement demanding mandatory vaccinations for all U.S. healthcare workers. Above, a nurse administers the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at a mobile vaccine clinic on July 16, 2021, in Los Angeles. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

The joint statement emphasized the importance of protecting vulnerable populations from COVID-19, such as immunocompromised individuals and unvaccinated children. The groups cited this as one of the main reasons healthcare workers are required to get the flu shot and other vaccines.

"This is the logical fulfillment of the ethical commitment of all health care 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," the organizations said.

The statement addressed mistrust within the medical community and committed to engaging with health care workers to increase vaccine acceptance. Problems with vaccinating healthcare workers in the U.S. differ from that of hospitals around the world due to adequate available supply prioritized for healthcare workers since December.

The American Nursing Association (ANA) joined the International Council of Nurses on Thursday in their call to globally prioritize the vaccination of all nurses and other healthcare workers.

ANA President Ernest J. Grant said that "immediate action" was required to make the vaccine more available for healthcare workers.

"It is deeply concerning that at this point in the pandemic, many nurses abroad do not have access to the recommended dose regimen of COVID-19 vaccines," Grant said in a press release.

Only 9 percent of hospitals in the U.S. have required their employees to get vaccinated, according to the American Hospital Association (AHA). The AHA was not among the groups who issued the joint call, but the organization independently announced its support for the mandate on Wednesday.

"As the health care community leads the way in requiring vaccines for our employees, we hope all other employers across the country will follow our lead and implement effective policies to encourage vaccination," the joint statement read. "The health and safety of U.S. workers, families, communities and the nation depends on it."