Medical centers in the San Diego area do not require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19
San Diego (CNS)-Although some hospitals in other parts of the country face employee opposition to the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, medical centers in the San Diego area basically avoided this problem. Hospital representatives told the City News Service that they did not require Workers are vaccinated.
This week, the commotion among some hospital employees caused national concern when the Houston Methodist Hospital system in Houston, Texas suspended 178 employees because they failed to receive the COVID-19 vaccine before the Monday deadline. The hospital’s mandatory vaccine policy has prompted more than 100 employees to file lawsuits, challenging the ability to mandate vaccines that are only authorized for emergency use and are technically considered “experimental”.
Suspended employees must be vaccinated before June 21, otherwise they will face dismissal.
Officials at various medical centers in the San Diego area told CNS that they have not formulated any mandatory vaccine policies.
“We don’t need to vaccinate our employees for influenza or COVID-19. We are happy that more than 80% of our employees are vaccinated, and this number continues to climb every week,” Sharp Healthcare spokesperson John Sihomsky Tell the City News Agency. “In fact, more of our employees and their families will be vaccinated on the Sharp Family Vaccination Day this weekend.”
Sharp, with more than 19,400 employees, still maintains a strict mask policy.
“Before COVID, employees who refused to get the flu vaccine had to wear masks when in the patient care area,” Cihomsky said. “Now, with COVID, of course, all workers are currently wearing masks, etc., regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or not.”
UC San Diego health department spokesperson Jacqueline Carr said that the hospital system has similar levels of staff vaccinated-but it also does not mandate vaccinations.
“So far, more than 80% of our health care workers have been vaccinated, and the vaccination is still ongoing,” Carl told CNS. “Some people postpone it because of health, vacation or other reasons.”
UCSD Health has approximately 13,500 employees.
Reddy Children’s Hospital also does not require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Rady spokesperson Carlos Delgado (Carlos Delgado) said: “Although highly encouraged and most of our employees are vaccinated, the COVID-19 vaccine is not currently needed.”
Palomar Health stated that it is dealing with COVID-19 vaccination, just as it handles influenza vaccine every year.
Palomar Health spokesperson Derryl Acosta said: “During the flu season, everyone who has not been vaccinated must wear a mask until the flu season passes, usually October to February, depending on season.”
“All people who have not been vaccinated must wear masks,” Acosta said. “The vaccinated staff have labels on their badges. Currently, according to CDC guidelines, everyone must wear a mask, so there is no problem.”
By March, more than 70% of Palomar Health’s employees had been vaccinated, but Acosta did not have updated statistics.
Scripps Health also does not need to be vaccinated, but the hospital system spokesperson Steve Capovich said that the rate of voluntary vaccinations is high.
“Based on our EPIC medical records and employee self-reported reactions, to date, 85% of Scripps employees have been vaccinated against COVID-19,” he told CNS. “But the actual percentage may be higher because some employees may have been vaccinated outside of Scripps-which will be recorded in a separate medical record-or may have been vaccinated but have not reported a reaction to us.”
In San Diego County, the fully vaccinated population of 12 years and older is more than 61%, which is much higher than the 42.6% nationally estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and 54.6% of the fully vaccinated in California. In terms of the total dose administered by the state, San Diego County is second only to Los Angeles County, which has almost three times the population.
Health care workers were the first people in the county to be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. When asked why the vaccination rate in hospitals is only about 80% given the long time that workers can be vaccinated, Cihomsky speculated that this may be related to workers’ caution with regard to new vaccines.
“This may reflect what we have seen across the country. Due to the novelty of the vaccine, some people are taking a wait-and-see attitude,” he said. “But the message we have always conveyed is that everyone who can be vaccinated should be vaccinated, whether in the health care field or not.”
In Houston, opponents of the hospital claim that the vaccine is experimental or unsafe, and that vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson have not yet been fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Vaccines are administered through emergency use authorization.
Nevertheless, after three rounds of clinical trials, hundreds of millions of doses of vaccine have been safely vaccinated. The 117 employees who filed a lawsuit against the Houston Methodist Church accounted for only a small percentage of the 26,000 employees in the hospital system.
Some hospitals in other parts of the country are also developing mandatory vaccination policies, including a range of health systems in Maryland and Washington, DC, and select hospitals in Pennsylvania and Indiana.
Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.