Opinion on Vaccinations for Hospital Workers

We have a local hospital that employs well over ten thousand people and has a self reported vaccination rate of 70%. I was curious what Dopers thought about these numbers. I know many otherwise knowledgeable nurses who do not get vaccinated for the flu. Obviously Covid is a different thing. These numbers are self-reported, which may make the real number lower. They also likely reflect being fully vaccinated since those who get one shot are likely to get a second. The administration claims the real number is higher, which it could and should certainly be, though on what basis I am unsure.

Thoughts on whether health care workers should be vaccinated to work? I dislike the idea in general. Is Covid different?

I think 70% is shockingly low. I’m fully vaccinated and would like to be able to assume I could enter a hospital and never come into contact with anyone not fully vaccinated.

Mabel in accounting? Yeah, whatever. But for anyone having patient contact I think it’s inexcusable that they aren’t vaccinated, TB tested, etc.

ETA: And furthermore, I think hospital administration shouldn’t have anyone on staff who doesn’t want to be vaccinated.

My feeling is that every person in a medical facility with patient contact - not just doctors and nurses, everyone including receptionists, transporters, etc. - should either be vaccinated or have a actual medical exemption such as life-threatening allergy to the vaccine. No religious exemptions. No philosophical exemptions.

Jones in accounting whose only contact with patients is over the phone? Who cares - well, maybe make Jones work from home if they won’t get vaccinated, don’t want Jones spreading anything to the people at the facility.

Totally agree with kayaker and Broomstick

I think the two options are a) get fully vaccinated or b) full PPE (gown, mask, goggles, shield, gloves) and rapid testing at the beginning of each shift. I would prefer the stick into the brain over saliva testing just to give them more encouragement to select option a.

My preferred option b is to fire their asses as they don’t understand or care about health on a community level and are in the wrong of work,

Fully agree with those who would require vaccination.

Not intended as a hijack, but here’s a list of those hospitals and health systems that are requiring vaccinations.

Coincidentally, the topic of health care workers not getting vaccinated came up in the locker room just this morning.

One woman is a retired nurse. She said she’d recently had lunch with a former coworker who told her many of the younger nurses at the hospital who had not been vaccinated gave the reason that they were either pregnant or trying to get pregnant and were unsure of how safe it would be.

AIUI current opinion is that there is no proven risk if a pregnant woman gets vaccinated, but I don’t think this has been communicated all that well.

But if such a medical exemption exists, the person should probably not be working in a hospital during this pandemic.

My feelings exactly. Medical workers should get vaccinated, no ifs ands or buts. This latest surge is a surge of the unvaccinated.

I agree with all of this. Hospital staff should be vaccinated. Beyond COVID, they all need to get vaccinated for the flu, pneumonia and anything else that they might spread to a patient. If they’re unable to take basic precautions, they should not work in healthcare.

I agree with all those who say healthcare workers who come in contact with patients must be vaccinated against COVID. 100%

But the Delta variant, due to it’s breakthrough infections and transmissibility among even the vaccinated population has introduced a whole new calculus.

I worked in a hospital system with 12,000+ employees. The flu vaccine was mandated, with documented medical or religious exceptions and those people had to wear a mask during flu season. If you weren’t vaccinated by a certain date, you were not scheduled to work. If you didn’t work for a certain number of days, you were assumed to have vacated your job. They haven’t mandated the covid vaccines yet and I assume the issue is that it isn’t FDA approved. I think as soon as that happens, they will put a mandate in place.

I was at one of the hospitals on Monday for outpatient cardiac testing. All the staff were masked but I was still stressed wondering if they had been vaccinated. I’m fully vaccinated but Delta is already a huge problem here in a county with only a 36% vaccination rate. Patients don’t need that additional stress and should be able to know they aren’t being put at unnecessary risk by their caretakers.

Yep, I concur 100%.

Every employee of every mThe vaccine should be required of every employee at every medical facility, yes, including Mabel in accounting and everyone else who has no patient contact. A facility that’s all about health should not have employees who pose a serious community health risk, period.

Maybe this will help. They’re putting themselves and their potential babies at serious risk by not getting vaccinated.

A Covid-19 infection puts pregnant women at an increased risk of severe complications, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The World Health Organization has said the same. And there’s a concern that the risk may be even higher with the Delta strain, which is more contagious.

Covid-19 also increases the risk of a preterm birth and may cause other adverse pregnancy outcomes, studies have shown. The guidelines say pregnant women who wait to get vaccinated after their delivery may inadvertently be exposing themselves to an increased risk of severe illness or death.

Agree with just about everyone. If I happen to be in a hospital, even vaccinated, I am going to ask anyone who comes into my room about their status. If they are not vaccinated I’ll ask for someone who is. But where I live it is unlikely to be a problem, I’m in a 80% vaccinated area not a shudder 36% one.

Drug companies simply do not test medicines and vaccines on pregnant women. Since thalidomide, they simply would rather say the medicine may be dangerous than take on additional liability. They sometimes do animal studies.

There are databases of learned experience suggesting which medicines are presumed safe in pregnant women or suggest harms in animal studies, The one I use is (free public access) called MotherRisk. RNA vaccines are new. It is very likely Covid is a much higher risk to the mother than the vaccine, but I am unfamiliar with the current research and anyone seeking this guidance or advice on any medicine should discuss it with their obstetrician.

There’s at least one study (by the NIH) underway of Covid-19 vaccination in pregnant women. The data thus far is reassuring as to vaccine safety in this population. On the other hand, pregnant women are susceptible to more severe disease in the event of Covid-19 infection.

Health care personnel, including hospital workers (whether or not they have frequent direct patient contact, they’re coming into and out of the facility frequently) have an obligation to protect not only themselves but the vulnerable patients they encounter. I have zero problem with any facility that mandates vaccination against Covid-19 and influenza for employees including nurses and docs on penalty of firing, unless there’s a valid medical exemption.

As regards the OP, 70% vaccination is inexcusably low.

I have no problem with making Covid vaccine mandatory, and limited sympathy for most refusers. I do recognize there are valid reasons. However, Canadian case law has been very clear about the right for informed people to refuse medical interventions.

This has not stopped some universities from requiring two doses of vaccine, and many from requiring at least one - sometimes with the caveat along the lines of “this is as far as we feel we can go, legally”.

I think 70% is an embarrassment. The public numbers are 10% higher than these hospital workers. This implies the public they serve would not have a high opinion of these numbers if they are at all accurate.

I"ve heard this reason given by a young woman who was working at my optometrist office. I simply said that there was far more risk to her and her potential child if she got covid. And that she should look into the medical facts and consult with her doctor before making such a decision that could actually do the opposite of what she wanted.

She changed the subject. I think she puts more weight on what some rando on facebook says over her own doctor. Oh well.

There’s a point at which I think a person can make an informed choice as to whether or not to take a risk. The whole “allergic to vaccine” issue is a bit unlikely this pandemic as there is more than one vaccine available. While Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is not as effective as the mRNA vaccines it does provide some protection and has a different allergen profile than the mRNA vaccines, and vice versa, so the odd that allergies would rule out ALL vaccines against covid is very unlikely.

On the other hand, there are people like my sister, whose heart disease means that prior to vaccines if she had caught covid it would have almost certainly have killed her, and still puts her into a high-risk group for break-through infections. Yet she still goes to work and still sees patients, including patients known to have covid. She is certainly knowledgeable about the risk yet chooses to take that risk for the benefit of others.

The “medical exemption” rule would probably come into play with people at a facility with some sort of auto-immune or immune suppression problem that would make a vaccine ineffective. Honestly, I’m not entirely sure what would qualify as a true medical exemption in this situation, but I think the option should be there.

There may be other situations where someone should seek other work, but that should not be the first option if that can be avoided.