During its most recent meeting, the Washington State Hospital Association Board of Directors adopted a resolution supporting COVID-19 vaccination requirements for health care workers.
Washington’s hospitals and health systems exist to improve and protect the health of our communities. In keeping with that goal, the Washington State Hospital Association Board of Directors urges all hospitals in Washington State to adopt policies that require all health care workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or to follow steps determined by the hospital’s policies. These requirements are necessary to protect workers, vulnerable patients, and community from COVID-19. Each hospital will determine the details and timing of its policies.
“Our state’s health systems and hospitals have seen firsthand how debilitating and deadly this disease can be,” said Cassie Sauer, President and CEO of the Washington State Hospital Association. “When the COVID-19 vaccines were first released, WSHA and its members strongly encouraged everyone who was eligible, including hospital and health system employees, to get vaccinated against COVID-19. In the months since, clinical data has shown the COVID-19 vaccines to be extraordinarily safe and effective and our best tool to prevent spread of the disease.”
The evidence is clear – vaccination against COVID-19 prevents people from becoming seriously ill, requiring hospitalization, or dying from the virus. To date, more than 4.4 million people in Washington and more than 164 million across the country have been vaccinated with minimal side effects.
Hospitals in Washington State are currently experiencing a rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations due to the fast-spreading Delta variant. Many of the people hospitalized now are very sick and may not survive. Sadly, some individuals who declined vaccination and became ill request the shot after it is too late and they are near death. Washington State Department of Health data shows that more than 94% of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths during May and June were among people not fully vaccinated. Anecdotal reports from hospitals suggest that all or nearly all the seriously ill hospitalized patients are unvaccinated.
Hospital and health system employee vaccination against COVID-19 is vital to safely care for patients by protecting them from infection. It is also vital to stop the spread of the virus within healthcare facilities and among coworkers and other caregivers.