Nearly a third of health care workers in U.S. hospitals have not yet been vaccinated against Covid-19, according to research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as tensions escalate due to a threatening – and controversial – nationwide mandate that officials worry will leave. the sector with a lack of critical workers.
As of Sept. 15, 70% of health care workers had been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, according to the CDC study of more than 3 million employees through more than 2,000 U.S. hospitals published in the American Journal of Infection Control.
The rates varied according to the type of hospital, the researchers found, with the highest vaccinations found in pediatric hospitals where 77% of workers have both doses.
Critical access hospitals had the lowest vaccination, with 64% of workers fully vaccinated, the researchers found.
Vaccination rates also differed by location, with health care workers in metropolitan districts (71%) having higher vaccination rates than those in rural districts (65%).
Vaccine consumption has also varied dramatically over time, the researchers found, jumping from 36% to 60% in the four months between January and April – a 24-point jump – but took five months to reach 70% by September.
Half of that jump (5%) in vaccination occurred in the month between August and September, something, according to the authors, could be due to the spread of the delta coronavirus variety or mandates in some jurisdictions.
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Federal vaccine mandates take effect early next year. The rules – which will affect more than 17 million health care workers at facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid – require workers to have received their final vaccine dose by Jan. 4.
Healthcare workers were among the first in line for Covid-19 vaccines, a priority both for their occupational risk of infection and their increased risk of transmitting it to others, particularly vulnerable patients, in healthy settings. Vaccination rates among different health professionals vary – the American Medical Association says 96% of its practicing physicians have been fully vaccinated and government data indicates that 73% of employees at long-term facilities are. Individual providers, states and the federal government all now require vaccination of its health care workers. Facilities, some of which have begun firing workers who are not fulfilling mandates, are increasingly concerned that the demands will trigger a shortage of staff. The continued refusal of health workers to receive the sting has frustrated colleagues and officials, not least because most are already demanding to be vaccinated against a litany of other diseases in order to work. Some states oppose the vaccine warrants and the matter will ultimately be decided in the courts.
Kovid-19 vaccination coverage among hospital-based health personnel reported by the Unified Hospital Health and Human Services Data Surveillance System, United States, January 20, 2021-September 15, 2021 (AJIC)
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