White House report: COVID-19 vaccine mandates working

The Biden administration says that vaccination mandates are not leading to the mass resignations in health that some expected.

A White House report on COVID-19 vaccine mandates have helped the healthcare industry to increase vaccination rates even as some continue to resist.

The report says that nearly 2,500 hospitals, or about 40 percent of all those in the country, have announced vaccine mandates for employees as have eight states. A further four states require vaccination or regular testing.

According to the report, many large hospital systems saw their COVID-19 vaccination rates among employees jumped to more than 90 percent after implementing mandates. The same increases were seen in nursing home employees.

Notably, the mass resignations many have said would result from vaccine mandates seem not to have materialized as many hospital systems with more than 30,000 employees lost a very limited number of employees, according to the report.

“Health care worker vaccination requirements have been shown to work time and time again,” the report says. “They boost vaccination rates and result in limited resignations and dismissals. They are an essential tool to help protect U.S. patients and health care personnel.”

Overall, mandates have increased vaccination rates by more than 20 percentage point to greater than 90 percent in many organizations and cut the rate of unvaccinated Americans by one-third. These increased vaccination rates are expected to return up to 5 million workers to the labor force and boost the economy, according to the report.

COVID-19 vaccine mandates have been given the stamp of approval from the American College of Physicians (ACP) which released new policies supporting the move.

The ACP says employers and schools can appropriately require proof of vaccination against highly transmissible diseases such as COVID-19. ACP says the requirements should be complimented by support offered through education, outreach, and paid time off for vaccination and to deal with side effects of the shots. The support is important to offer to marginalized populations who are subject to racism and discrimination.

The organization also says that while those who have medical contraindications should be exempt from these requirements, allowing exemption based on non-medical reasons poses a risk to public health.

“Vaccines are safe and effective, they help prevent serious illness, hospitalizations and death. Increasing the vaccination rate for COVID-19 is foundational in helping to bring infection rates under control and to keep them under control,” George M. Abraham, MD, MPH, FACP, FIDSA, president of ACP, says in a release announcing the new policies. “We need to ensure that as many members of our society are vaccinated as possible to protect the most vulnerable among us.”

The organization also recommends all healthcare workers be immunized for the safety of patients and the public unless there is a clear medical contraindication or legal exemption. The ACP supports employers requiring all healthcare workers be vaccinated against highly transmissible diseases as a condition of employment and has previously supported requirements for COVID-19 vaccines in healthcare workers.