In response to the recent nationwide uptick in coronavirus cases, health care associations are calling on employers to require inoculation, and some cities are issuing mandates for high-risk workers.
COVID-19 cases are rising in almost 90 percent of U.S. jurisdictions, particularly in areas with low vaccination rates, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “These worrisome trends are due, in part, to the rapid spread of the highly transmissible [Delta] variant,” the agency said. “An increase in the number of cases will put more strain on health care resources and could lead to more hospitalizations and deaths.”
In response to the uptick in cases, the American Medical Association (AMA), the American College of Physicians (ACP), and other associations are asking employers in the health care and long-term care industries to require employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. Additionally, some cities, such as New York City and San Francisco will soon require high-risk workers to get vaccinated.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) also announced on July 26 that it will require certain health care professionals to get vaccinated. “Whenever a veteran or VA employee sets foot in a VA facility, they deserve to know that we have done everything in our power to protect them from COVID-19,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough.
Many employers have been encouraging rather than requiring workers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, but businesses may consider stricter policies as the COVID-19 Delta variant spreads. Since vaccines first became available, companies have offered employees a wide range of incentives to get inoculated. “We all but shamed people,” said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, president and chief executive officer of the Society for Human Resource Management, in an interview with The New York Times. “But now we’re at a point that none of that’s working and we’ve got to close the gap.”