A group of professional healthcare organizations said hospitals, nursing homes and other health facilities should require employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
The statement comes as the nation is experiencing a rise in COVID-19 cases, a 16% increase compared to the prior week's seven-day moving average of daily cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The highly transmissible delta variant is fueling the jump in cases and is taking off in areas with low vaccination rates.
Certain pockets of the country with low vaccination rates are experiencing a spike in hospitalizations, particularly in southwest Missouri. Hospital leaders are calling on residents to get the jab as resources are stretched.
Currently, about 48% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, below the threshold experts said is needed. Still, the total number of cases in the U.S. is signifcantly lower than the peak reached in January. However, experts worry the latest rise in cases will hamper the fight to stop the pandemic.
A group of seven national healthcare organizations released a statement Tuesday calling on certain employers to require vaccination, noting that vaccination rates among healthcare workers prior to the pandemic was "suboptimal," highlighting the importance of requirements.
"For flu vaccination, when healthcare employers instituted policies of influenza vaccination as a condition of employment, compliance rose to 94.4 percent compared to 69.6 percent in organizations without a requirement," the joint statement said.
The seven professional organizations said they reviewed the available evidence from the three vaccines before drafting the statement. They also reviewed employment law and the rate of vaccinations.
The organizations that signed on to Tuesday's statement include Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, the Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the HIV Medicine Association, the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society and the Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists.
A growing number of hospitals and health systems have required the vaccination, including Houston Methodist, Mass General Brigham in Boston and the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit.
Federal regulators previously gave the green light to employers to require innoculation. Employment law does not bar such policies from being enacted so long as they are in line with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said on May 28.