Hospital workers were some of the first to be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, but not everyone in those medical settings received the vaccine. The association representing hospitals in a state sent out a statewide policy endorsing a vaccine mandate Thursday.
“From December of 2020 until now we’ve been making a pretty significant effort to get as many of our employees as possible vaccinated,” said Paul Kidwell, senior vice president of policy at the Connecticut Hospital Association.
The Connecticut Hospital Association says they’ve made good progress, but need to go further.
“We’re seeing vaccination rates that are in the 70s (percent) up to the mid and high 80s,” Kidwell said.
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It varies by hospital.
“We’ve participated in one of the most successful efforts in the nation to get as many people vaccinated as possible,” he said.
Over the coming months, hospitals across the state will begin rolling out the mandate for their employees.
Mark Carey, an employment attorney, says the vaccine mandate is legal.
“There’s the religious issue and there’s the medical issue,“ Carey said.
Those are the only two exemptions to an employer-based vaccine mandate.
“Employers can mandate vaccinations,” Carey said.
He says most employers have been very cautious in enforcing vaccine mandates, but he believes the tide is changing.
“You’ll start to see more, and more employers start to do that,” Carey says.
There’s a legal gray area, according to Carey, for young women trying to conceive who might be worried about the vaccine’s impact on their fertility.
“We’re all in this petri dish of a social scientific experiment that when if they have that serious concern they should address it to their employer,” Carey said.
Carey says workers should address vaccine concerns with their employers.
“I would suggest that all parties have adult conversations and really have some compassion during this really unprecedented time,” Carey added.
Hospitals and their employees have been on the frontlines of this pandemic.
“We’ve treated more than 36,000 COVID patients, we have stood up mass testing sites, we have provided vast amounts of education and information around how to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Kidwell said.