MADISON (WKOW) – Wisconsin’s largest medical organization is calling on state health care entities to require COVID-19 vaccinations for employees.
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This call for vaccination requirements comes as COVID-19 cases are on the rise again, mostly due to the Delta variant. It also comes shortly after more than 50 major national medical groups issued a joint statement calling for vaccine mandates for healthcare and long-term care workers.
âFor months, doctors have encouraged everyone eligible for a vaccine to protect themselves, their families and their communities from this terrible virus,â said Wisconsin Medical Society COVID-19 task force chair David Letzer, DO. âWe have educated both our patients and the public about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine and countering the inaccuracies described in most social media. In fact, our advocacy to the public is to help us move closer to collective immunity. “
According to the Wisconsin Medical Society, Wisconsin is experiencing a resurgence of COVID-19, with an alleged 330% increase in the seven-day average for new confirmed cases in two weeks.
âAt some point, all employers need to step up and start mandating vaccinations to protect their employees and customers,â Letzer said. “Because the Delta variant is two to three times more contagious than the original strain, now is the time to take this We call on all healthcare organizations to require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, except rare medical contraindication.
Jeff Pothof, quality manager at UW Health, noted that although staff are currently not required to be vaccinated, more than 90 percent of their staff have received the vaccine.
Pothof added that the rapid spread of the Delta variant is prompting health system officials to reassess their position.
âI think the Delta variant is starting to change our perspective on this. At UW Health, we were able to vaccinate 90% of our employees. We thought it was pretty good,â said Pothof. âI think now, with the increase in cases of the Delta variant, we are starting to wonder if this is enough? Should we be doing more? “
Letzer said that while long-term care facilities like nursing homes are not under the umbrella of the medical society, he strongly encouraged workers to get vaccinated as well.
The AARP Wisconsin found that less than 15 percent of nursing homes in the state had vaccination rates of 75 percent or higher among staff.