Nearly all hospitals in Washington, D.C., will make it mandatory for their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, health officials announced Wednesday.
The District of Columbia Hospital Association said in a news release "nearly all health systems and hospitals in the District of Columbia will each set a date after which vaccination against COVID-19 will be a condition of employment."
Hospitals will comply with federal and D.C. laws in granting exemptions for medical or religious reasons.
The hospital association said its decision was based on data showing the minimal risk of COVID-19 vaccines, compared to their high rates of effectiveness.
Roughly 70% of all D.C. hospital employees have been fully vaccinated, the association said.
“The District of Columbia is blessed with a hospital workforce of over 30,000 individuals that provided and continue to provide compassionate and quality care throughout the pandemic,” said Jacqueline D. Bowens, President and CEO of the District of Columbia Hospital Association. “This consensus is a reiteration of our hospitals’ commitment to safety by keeping our staff, patients and visitors protected against COVID-19.”
Children's National Hospital said 75% of its employees are vaccinated and the remainder will have until Sept. 30 to be fully vaccinated.
"As a children’s hospital, we serve patients that range in age from newborns to young adults. Currently, the vaccine is not authorized for children under the age of 12, so this new requirement for our employees is an important and meaningful way to safeguard the health of the children whose care is entrusted to us," said Dr. Kurt Newman, president and CEO of Children's National.
Medstar Health released the following statement:
"Once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) removes the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) status for COVID-19 vaccines to full authorization, MedStar Health will set an effective date by which all associates will be required to have received their COVID-19 vaccination," MedStar Health said in a statement.
"As is the case with other required vaccinations, medical and religious exemption requests will be accepted. MedStar Health will continue to require associates to wear face masks and appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) while practicing physical distancing, hand hygiene, and other safety protocols across all our locations."
MedStar said 70% of its associates and 80% of clinicians are vaccinated.
The University of Maryland Medical System also announced Wednesday that it will require COVID-19 vaccination for all current and new employees beginning Sept. 1.
Virginia hospitals are still not requiring their workers to get fully vaccinated.
The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association told News4 it strongly encourages hospital staff to get vaccinated but it's not a mandate. The association said that's because this is an evolving situation. Hospital leaders in Virginia are evaluating the policy.
News4 also reached out to INOVA Health System which also said it's still evaluating whether to require staff to get fully vaccinated as a requirement for employment.
The District of Columbia Hospital Association includes the following hospitals:
- BridgePoint Hospital Capitol Hill
- BridgePoint Hospital National Harbor
- Children’s National Hospital
- The George Washington University Hospital
- Howard University Hospital
- MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
- MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital
- MedStar Washington Hospital Center
- Psychiatric Institute of Washington
- Saint Elizabeths Hospital
- Sibley Memorial Hospital
- United Medical Center
- Veterans Affairs Medical Center