Colorado requires most health care workers to be vaccinated


DENVER — Members of the State Board of Well being voted to require the COVID-19 vaccine for employees at hospitals, nursing properties and different well being care amenities in Colorado.

The board adopted the emergency rule in a 6-1 vote throughout a digital assembly Monday. The vote got here after public testimony from well being care suppliers, docs and members of the group.

All staff, direct contractors, and assist employees at 3,800 licensed well being care amenities in Colorado should have acquired their first dose of the vaccine no later than Sept. 30. They should be totally vaccinated no later than Oct. 31, based on the newly-passed measure.

The vaccine mandate comes after a request from Gov. Jared Polis, who pushed the board to move guidelines requiring vaccines for well being care employees as COVID-19 circumstances proceed to rise within the state, largely as a result of extremely contagious delta variant.

In a letter to the board despatched Aug. 17, Polis urged board members to right away contemplate a vaccine mandate for all people “concerned in well being care and assist employees who commonly come into contact and share areas with weak populations together with sufferers in search of medical care in important medical settings and in congregate senior residing amenities.”

Roughly 30% of the well being care workforce in these amenities and companies stay unvaccinated, based on the Colorado Division of Public Well being and Surroundings.

“I’d slightly defend that freedom of alternative than what any individual is saying. You need to get this,” mentioned Giovanna Goldman, a nurse who confirmed as much as protest Monday. “I ought to have that proper, to have the ability to say sure or no.”

Lots of the audio system who participated within the public remark portion of Monday’s assembly expressed considerations about the opportunity of further employees shortages if a vaccine mandate had been to be imposed. The well being care system is already experiencing staffing challenges amid the COVID-19 disaster.

“I’m involved concerning the mandates for well being care employees because it pertains to my husband” mentioned Gretchen Samuels, whose husband is a affected person in long-term care in Colorado. “I really feel like they they’re being shortsighted with this, that that is form of a knee jerk response.”

However board members who voted for the measure mentioned they’ve an obligation to guard essentially the most weak sufferers.

The vaccine requirement impacts the next sorts of well being care amenities:

  • Acute Therapy Items
  • Ambulatory Surgical Facilities
  • Assisted Residing Residences
  • Behavioral Well being Entity
  • Beginning Facilities
  • Neighborhood Psychological Well being Heart
  • Neighborhood Clinic
  • Neighborhood Built-in Well being Care
  • Providers Company
  • Dialysis Therapy Clinics
  • House Care Companies
  • House Care Placement Companies
  • Hospice
  • Hospitals
  • Services for People with Mental and Developmental Disabilities
  • Nursing Houses

The mandate doesn’t apply to particular person well being care practitioners or employees, nor does it apply to different settings the place sufferers search medical care together with major care places of work and pressing care areas. Moreover, every facility can have the authority to determine their very own standards for medical and spiritual exemptions.

The board will reconvene in October to vote on everlasting guidelines.