On Monday, members of nearly 60 medical organizations called for mandating COVID-19 vaccinations among healthcare workers, pointing to the COVID-19 surge driven by the Delta variant and notably low vaccination rates among healthcare workers in some parts of the country. Some medical facilities are already requiring their workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but if you’re not sure whether the hospitals near you have done so, now there’s one central place you can check: a Hospital Vaccine Mandate Tracker from the Brown University School of Public Health.
“Hospitals maintain high infection prevention and control standards to keep patients safe in their most vulnerable moments,” the school’s dean, Ashish Jha, along with the tracker’s cocreators, wrote in a post announcing the tool. “In a pandemic which has already cost too many lives and created too many hardships, hospitals must uphold this standard and ensure that health systems are the safest spaces possible. An essential part of this role is mandating COVID-19 vaccines for all employees.”
On a map of the U.S., the tracker shows hospitals with color-coded dots: An orange dot means there is a full vaccine mandate, yellow means a partial mandate, and red means no mandate. More detailed information gives each facility’s name, state, and when it announced its requirements.
The tracker is still new, so its creators need help filling it out and collecting information on hospital mandates nationwide. Jha asked online for people to provide information on hospitals that are “protecting patients by requiring vaccinations of their employees” and to share that submission form to help keep the tracker up to date.
Among those that already mandate vaccines for employees are the entire Veterans Affairs system, which announced its mandate on July 26. The Mayo Clinic announced its mandate the same day, as did the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee. The entire University of California system, including UC San Diego Health, announced its vaccine requirement July 15, which specifies that “all students, faculty, and staff be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus before they will be allowed on campus or in a facility or office.”
Currently, fewer than 50% of Americans are vaccinated against COVID-19, and it’s those Americans who are feeling the brunt of the pandemic: more than 97% of COVID-19-related hospitalizations, and 99.5% of deaths, are unvaccinated people, U.S. health officials recently announced.
In the statement from medical organizations calling for a mandate, the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, and others noted that many healthcare and long-term care personnel are still unvaccinated, and that historical mistrust of healthcare institutions, even among the healthcare workforce, is rampant. But requiring that healthcare workers be vaccinated, they write, is “the logical fulfillment of the ethical commitment of all healthcare workers to put patients . . . first and take all steps necessary to ensure their health and well-being.”