The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) supports the Biden-Harris Administration’s interim final rule published today which requires Medicare- and Medicaid-certified providers and suppliers to ensure that all healthcare staff receive COVID-19 vaccination. This requirement will protect healthcare personnel and patients across 21 types of provider settings. The interim final rule cites evidence published by SHEA in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology (ICHE).
“Vaccines are the most effective and scientifically supported way to protect patients, staff, and visitors from the COVID-19 virus, and widespread vaccination in other large workplaces will protect the larger community as well,” said Mary Hayden, MD, president of the SHEA board of trustees. “Making sure that large organizations are required to have vaccinated staff helps level the playing field so facilities can hire and retain healthcare workers. It addresses the critical shortage of staff across the healthcare continuum.”
In July, SHEA published resources that could serve as guides for large organizations seeking to develop and implement COVID-19 vaccination requirements.
The documents include:
A consensus statement supporting requirements of healthcare personnel to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The statement provides an overview of current COVID-19 vaccines’ safety and efficacy, legal considerations, ways to engage stakeholders and improve vaccination rates, and advantages to having a fully vaccinated workforce. It was developed by SHEA along with six other organizations representing over 30,000 medical professionals working in infectious diseases, infection prevention, pharmacy, pediatrics, and long-term care.
A toolkit with practical suggestions for planning and operationalizing a policy for vaccination as a condition of healthcare employment, including how to review and manage exemptions, initiate educational efforts to work with groups with lower vaccine uptake, hold vaccine clinics, and more.
“SHEA supports efforts by the federal government to encourage a fully vaccinated workforce. Data clearly show that vaccination reduces the burden of infection in communities, and among healthcare personnel and patients,” said David Weber, MD, a member of the SHEA board of trustees and lead author of the consensus statement on vaccination as a condition of employment in healthcare.
According to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, approved vaccines were approximately 90% effective in preventing symptomatic and asymptomatic infection with the COVID-19 virus in real-world conditions, among frontline workers that include healthcare personnel.
For Healthcare Hygiene magazine's coverage of the vaccine mandate, see the October 2021 cover story.