Ohio Hospital Association encourages local hospitals to require COVID-19 vaccine for workers

The Ohio Hospital Association has issued a recommendation to local hospitals to adopt policies requiring employees and staff to require the COVID-19 vaccine.

“OHA recommends hospitals independently adopt policies requiring COVID-19 vaccination for employees and staff, with local factors determining whether, how and when such policies are implemented,” the association said in a statement.

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Premier Health, Kettering Health and Mercy Health are all members of the Ohio Hospital Association.

Kettering Health said it “is currently reviewing our policy about the COVID-19 vaccine. We encourage all of our employees and community members to get the COVID-19 vaccine to help prevent the spread of the virus.”

Currently, all three healthcare systems do not mandate the vaccine for its workers.

OHA said “hospital employee and staff vaccination against COVID-19 will maintain the long-term ability of our healthcare system to respond to the pandemic, to safely care for patients by protecting them from infection, and to mitigate the spread of the virus.”

While the OHA recommends implementing the requirement of vaccines at local hospitals it said it “recognizes the unique circumstances of each hospital and community in Ohio and understands that vaccine requirements are embraced by some people and rejected by others.”

“OHA respects each hospital’s ability to engage in this discussion within their facility and community at a time that is appropriate for them and to implement their desired policy in a way that works for them,” OHA said in a statement.

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GDAHA previously said in early July it had planned to keep vaccinations voluntary until the Federal Drug Administration gives full approval.

GDAHA previously developed, in coordination with member hospitals, a mandate for healthcare workers to receive the influenza vaccine, however conversations about a similar program for the COVID-19 vaccines would not happen until after full approval is given for the shots from the FDA, Sarah Hackenbracht, President and CEO for GDAHA, said in July.

“Member hospitals want to ensure every healthcare employee is safe and healthy as the delta variant becomes the more prevalent strain of COVID-19 in our region,” Hackenbracht said Tuesday. “Our hospitals continue to encourage everyone, including staff and employees, to get the COVID-19 vaccine because that is the most effective tool we have to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

In Ohio, 792 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Tuesday. That number is up from around 200 people in early July.

In the Miami Valley region, 93 people with COVID-19 were in the hospital, which is up from 8 people in early July.

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