Medical schools and teaching hospitals should require their workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine, the Association of American Medical Colleges told its members Friday.
Unvaccinated Americans account for an overwhelming majority of new COVID-19 hospitalizations, said Dr. David Skorton, CEO of the association, adding that the virus continues to mutate. States with the highest spikes in new cases also have some of the country's lowest vaccination rates, according to data from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's Coronavirus Tracking Center.
"In light of the alarming resurgence in COVID-19 infections, the AAMC urges its member institutions to require vaccinations for their employees with the goal of protecting our patients and healthcare personnel nationwide," Skorton said in prepared remarks. "Vaccinating health care personnel at our member institutions saves lives."
On June 30, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology supported providers that are requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment.
AAMC's members include all 155 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; more than 400 teaching hospitals and health systems, including Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 70 academic societies.
More health systems are requiring their workers to get inoculated, but most medical associations have yet to make the recommendation. The University of Chicago Medicine this week joined the ranks of hospitals and systems that made the decree, following Trinity Health, Mass General Brigham, Beth Israel Lahey Health and Houston Methodist, among others.
Providers continue to weigh the public safety concerns and risk of further staffing shortages if their employees contract COVID-19 with the potential internal pushback.
Public health officials have warned that the virus will continue to evolve among the unvaccinated population, which jeopardizes not only the U.S., but global efforts to quell COVID-19.