Lincoln, NE (July 26, 2021) Over the course of the pandemic, COVID-19 vaccinations for Nebraska healthcare workers have been entirely voluntary. But soon, that may change. Dr. Cary Ward, the Medical Director for C-H-I Health, said requiring vaccinations for healthcare staff at Nebraska hospitals is “definitely under discussion.”
Its not just Nebraska that’s considering this. According to Dr. Ward, this is a decision that all major health care systems around the country are considering. “Its time, I think, to treat this much like the influenza vaccine. All hospitals require influenza vaccinations for their employees…Its now become a very similar sort of decision.”
Dr. Ward says a decision on whether or not vaccinations will be mandatory for healthcare workers is likely to be made in the next several months.
Daily coronavirus infection numbers are rising in Nebraska, but are still no where near the peak of last winter. Amongst all C-H-I hospitals, there are 30 patients being treated for COVID-19, and 34 patients at Bryan Health. This is up from the single digits of a month ago, but is not even close to the 100+ being treated at any given time during the pandemic’s worst. Dr. Ward, however, said concern for another spike is driving a discussion for all hospitals to require employee vaccinations.
While some people will have side effects and anomaly break through infections, Dr. Ward assures the public, vaccines are safe for the vast majority of people….and prevent serious illness.
Almost all of the COVID patients C-H-I is seeing now are younger than 50, and almost all are not vaccinated. “We’re certainly encouraging everybody we can to get the vaccine now. We know how safe it is, we know how effective it is, and that’s gonna be the best way for all of us to keep from growing anymore.” Ward said, and continued, of all their cases “These are, almost, all unvaccinated patients. This is clearly a problem now with those that are unvaccinated. The vaccine is remarkably effective, its astounding how all of these patients tend to be unvaccinated and younger.”
Dr. Ward believes that most healthcare employees will comply if the vaccine is made mandatory. Adding that evidence in favor of getting the shot is overwhelming. “340 million doses have been given. If there any significant side effects of this vaccine…and I want to stress: yes, there are side effects. There are some extremely rare conditions that have occurred. But there is no comparison between that and complications of getting the disease if you get the disease.”
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