Thursday, September 23, 2021

Veteran Affairs requiring medical staff to get vaccinated. Will hospitals and businesses be next?

BIRMINGHAM (Ala.)WIAT) – Veteran Affairs announced Monday they will require all medical staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19. After a group of medical organizations released a statement stating that all medical workers should receive the vaccine, the decision was made. It is now the first federal agency that has mandated it.

During UAB’s Q&A on Monday, Dr. Jeannie Marrazzo addressed the news. It is possible that hospitals and other practices will soon require it.

We wanted to know if local businesses will require the vaccine for their employees. MotionMobs, a Birmingham-based software development company, said they will examine how the VA and other medical practices handle a mandate for vaccines before making a decision.

“So, really looking to follow their lead as a company on how they mandate the vaccine,” Consultant Jennifer Fisher said.

Fisher said that they are encouraging employees to get the shot. Fisher says they are eager for workers to return to work at their office full-time soon.

“And just really kind of researching what’s appropriate in order to get back to work,” Fisher said.

Due to the recent increase in cases, some hospitals like DCH in Tuscaloosa are considering requiring their medical staffs to be vaccinated.

“Well, really all hospital employees because they are going in and out of areas where someone might be infected,” Andy North with DCH said.

North claims they are offering employees extra vacation days as an incentive to get the shot. North says that if there are more cases than hospitals can handle, they will want to ensure their staff is safe and healthy.

“Our numbers are going up again across the state and it’s going to be a very difficult time for the hospitals and we really need your help,” North said.

Experts say to ensure another surge doesn’t happen, people need to use the tools available.

“The tools we have to not let that happen again are masks and vaccines,” Dr. Marrazzo said.

According to the VA Medical Center in Birmingham, they will soon release more information. Click here to find more information about COVID-19 from Veteran Affairs. here.

Tuesday’s statement by the Tuscaloosa VA reads:

“It is our duty as a federal health care entity and the largest integrated health care system in the nation to do our part in this pandemic. All Veterans Health Administration (VHA), Title 38 Health Care Personnel, (HCP) must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 within eight week of publication of VHA Directive 1113. Only medical and religious exemptions are allowed.

“COVID-19 vaccination is the best protection we have in fighting and controlling the virus, and this requirement is part of our ongoing strategy to prevent viral transmission in our health care system. Numerous medical societies support the decision to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for HCP. On July 13, 2021, a multi-society statement from the leading infectious diseases societies was issued in the Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology journal recommending that COVID-19 vaccination should be a condition of employment for all health care personnel. This policy will help protect our Veterans, coworkers, and loved ones who may be at risk for severe complications from COVID-19.”

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