In the first weeks of vaccine availability, hospitals and health care systems in which high-risk workers take precedence over admissions are likely to face.
Ethical issues related to Covid-19 vaccination orders are particularly serious for hospitals, said Lawrence Gostin, director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at the University of Georgetown.
“The hospital is there to heal,” he said. “Their job is to protect their entire staff and all their patients, and someone has the right to freedom and autonomy at all – but they have no right to expose other people to dangerous infections.”
The two vaccines currently under review by the FDA, Moderna and Pfizer, have shown more than 90 percent efficacy in a late-stage human study of tens of thousands of people without serious side effects. Less than a year after their creation, they are ready for emergency licensing – a record result made possible by the acceleration of the normal development schedule.
But hospitals and health care systems have so far seen a calm response among workers to vaccinations. National Nurses United, the nation’s largest nursing union, will fight possible vaccination orders as long as details of Moderna and Pfizer trials are publicly available.
“We think it will be a pilot vaccination for a while,” said Michelle Mahon, the union’s representative. He added that nurses are generally not skeptical about vaccinations – and that more than 92 per cent of registered nurses received a seasonal flu shot last year.
Another major healthcare workers ’union, SEIU-United Workers West, has been urging for months that Covid-19 vaccines should remain voluntary. But the group said its members should continue to be given priority access to recordings.
A spokesman for the American Hospital Association said one of its members – all for-profit health systems – did not make vaccination mandatory at this point. Hospital lobbyist he told POLITICO that some health systems are considering allowing employees to receive vaccinations only after full approval by the FDA.
These plans may change as health care workers make vaccinations more comfortable over time. Americans ’general confidence and willingness to take Covid-19 shots has grown since Moderna and Pfizer released the final results of their vaccination attempts last month.
According to a Gallup survey released in November, roughly 60 percent of U.S. residents would be willing to get a coronavirus shot – up from 50 percent in September.
The on-board recruitment of health workers with the Covid-19 vaccine will be crucial to increase acceptance of the recruitments, a senior official at the Center for Disease Prevention and Control said on Friday.
“I know the person most people listen to the most is the health care provider,” said Jay Butler, CDC’s deputy director of infectious diseases. “We want to make sure providers get information as quickly as possible.”