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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) – A demand highlighted in bold from more than 50 health care organizations in a joint statement released Monday reads, “We call for all health care and long-term care employers to require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.” 

The American Medical Association’s Interim Past President Susan R. Bailey, M.D. called the need for vaccinating health care workers “critical,” saying in a statement in part:

“Increased vaccinations among health care personnel will not only reduce the spread of COVID-19 but also reduce the harmful toll this virus is taking within the health care workforce and those we are striving to serve.”

The call for a vaccine mandate amongst medical personnel comes as coronavirus infections rise, driven by the highly transmissible delta variant.

Last week, the American Hospital Association released a policy statement saying they support hospitals and health systems that adopt mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies for health care personnel.

FOX 8 asked northeast Ohio health care systems about their current stance, with a Cleveland Clinic spokesperson saying:

“At this time, we are focusing on encouraging our caregivers to receive the vaccine, providing education and making vaccination as accessible as possible. As the pandemic evolves, we will continue to monitor the situation.”

MetroHealth also responded to the inquiry with a statement saying:

“We are always encouraging staff and employees to get vaccinated. At this time, we have nearly 80% of our employees and staff vaccinated, and we continually offer vaccinations in our clinics at the hospital.”

University Hospitals also replied, saying:

“Right now, COVID-19 vaccines are not mandatory for any employee. Caregivers who choose not to receive the vaccine continue to work in their normal environment and are required to wear the PPE appropriate to their work environment and continue to practice hygiene recommendations and physical distancing. These current practices continue to be effective for the protection of employees and patients throughout the pandemic. We continue to carefully monitor the incidence of COVID and vaccination rates amongst our employees and in our community to help guide any future changes to our vaccination policy.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Monday they are issuing a vaccine mandate for all its medical employees.