The increase in cases caused by the delta variant is prompting new calls for employers to force COVID-19 vaccines on their workers, and some large entities are starting to follow through.
There was a wave of activity around vaccine warrants on Monday, with California and New York City announcing vaccine warrants for government employees, or weekly testing. The Department of Veterans Affairs became the first federal agency to mandate the vaccine, focusing on its frontline healthcare workers.
And to start the day, more than 50 healthcare organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association, have called on employers to demand the vaccine for all healthcare workers and for other employers, not only those in the health sector, to “follow our example.
The surge comes as cases, deaths and hospitalizations from COVID-19 rise again due to the more transmissible delta variant and the vaccination rate has slowed significantly.
Many experts believe that employer mandates are the key to increasing immunization rates and slowing the new wave, which is massively affecting the unvaccinated.
Ezekiel Emanuel, a medical expert at the University of Pennsylvania who was a health care adviser to the Obama White House, said that despite “are still just under 50% of the population vaccinated. “
“We really need to take it to the next level, and mandates, especially health workers, are the next level,” he said.
Experts fear that epidemics will continue to worsen unless a significantly higher percentage of the population is vaccinated. The risk is mostly unvaccinated people, but a small number of vaccinated people will still get sick, and there are society-wide effects like overcrowded hospitals in some parts of the country.
And the more the virus spreads, the more likely it is that new variants will develop that could escape vaccines.
“It is clear that soft persuasion has not reached the rate of vax we need to defeat Covid,” tweeted Bob Wachter, chairman of the department of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco. “Yes, politics is difficult, but dying is worse, as is the re-tanking of the economy. It’s time for vaccination warrants – nothing else gets us where we need to go.
Many Republicans have pushed back efforts to promote or impose vaccines. When President BidenJoe BidenTrump Backs Ken Paxton vs. George P. Bush in Texas Attorney General Race GOP Lawmakers Call on Cuba to Meet Biden For families, sending money to Cuba shouldn’t be political football MORE even spoke of a voluntary effort to go “door to door” to promote vaccinations, many Republican lawmakers called it government overtaking.
Lawmakers in Republican states in places like Indiana and Iowa have pushed back efforts by hospitals or universities to mandate vaccines.
White House press secretary Jen psakiJen PsakiSenators scramble to save infrastructure deal Overnight health care: New round of immunization warrants | Health groups ask for mandates for all health workers | Rising Case Numbers Revive Debate Over On The Money Restrictions: Senate Infrastructure Talks Shaky Basics | Trump tells Republicans to walk away | GOP views debt ceiling as leverage against Biden MORE Monday praised the statement by health care groups calling for immunization mandates, but did not make a loud call for other employers to mandate immunization.
“It is clear that at the moment the delta variant has the upper hand, and we believe it is time to ask employers to demand that their employees be vaccinated as the next step,” said Susan Bailey, President from the American Medical Association, in an interview.
Donors have said they hope the series of moves in California, New York and Virginia on Monday will spur more employers and local governments to act.
Governor of California Gavin NewsomGavin Newsom San Francisco bars demand vaccine proof, negative COVID-19 tests for indoor drinking Gavin Newsom blames ‘right-wing’ misinformation for delta variant deaths California demands state employees and health workers are vaccinated PLUS (D) said on Monday it was time to move from choice to immunization mandates.
“We are at a point in this epidemic, this pandemic, where the choice, the choice of individuals not to be vaccinated, now has an impact on the rest of us, in a deep, devastating and deadly way.” , Newsom said. “This choice has led to an increase in the rate of cases [and] growing concern about rising death rates.
Another step that could help increase the country’s vaccination rate is the full approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for COVID-19 vaccines. While the current emergency use authorization process was rigorous and experts widely say the vaccines are safe and effective, the final step of full approval could help win over some skeptics.
Some experts have called on the FDA to speed up full vaccine approval. The move could also make employers more confident in requiring the vaccine, although it is not a prerequisite.
A federal judge refused to block Indiana University’s vaccination mandate earlier this month, for example.
“We know these vaccines are safe and effective,” Bailey of the American Medical Association said of the full FDA approval. “We don’t think we should wait for this administrative action to continue and recommend warrants for vaccines.”
The United States now averages about 50,000 cases per day, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is an increase from around 13,000 at the end of June, although well below last winter’s peak of around 250,000, before vaccines became widely available. Deaths are also increasing, to around 240 per day.
As cases have increased, vaccinations have declined. The country averages around 580,000 shots per day, up from more than 3 million per day in April, according to Our World in Data. Still, there has been a slight increase in vaccinations recently, as the White House is hoping news of the threat of the delta variant will prompt more people to get vaccinated. The number of people receiving their first injection is up 24% from the previous week, according to the White House.
“Not enough patients have been vaccinated to keep the case rate from increasing,” Bailey said.