District of Columbia Hospitals Call for Employees to Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – June 9, 2021
District of Columbia hospitals and health systems call for all employees and clinical team members to be vaccinated against COVID-19. This important step helps ensure the safety and well-being of District hospital employees, patients, and visitors.
Under the District-wide consensus, nearly all health systems and hospitals in the District of Columbia will each set a date after which vaccination against COVID-19 will be a condition of employment (or contract engagement for non-employees who work at hospitals). Hospitals will comply with all federal and District laws in granting appropriate exemptions for medical or religious reasons.
The decision was based on expert guidance and data showing the minimal risk of COVID-19 vaccines, compared to their high rates of effectiveness.
To date, roughly 70% of all DC hospital employees have been fully vaccinated, 52.3% of District residents are partially or fully vaccinated and 42.3% of DC residents are fully vaccinated.
“The District of Columbia is blessed with a hospital workforce of over 30,000 individuals that provided and continue to provide compassionate and quality care throughout the pandemic,” said Jacqueline D. Bowens, President and CEO of the District of Columbia Hospital Association. “This consensus is a reiteration of our hospitals’ commitment to safety by keeping our staff, patients and visitors protected against COVID-19.”
District of Columbia Hospital Worker Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination
Consensus Statement – June 2021
The District of Columbia’s 14 hospitals and health systems are committed to make the District’s hospitals safe for every patient, every visitor, and every staff member. As part of their commitment to that goal, participating hospitals have, through the auspices of the District of Columbia Hospital Association (DCHA), made a decision to require all employees and clinical team members to be vaccinated against COVID-19. DCHA’s Board of Directors endorses this action.
The District’s hospitals have seen first-hand the devastation COVID-19 has caused to the people of the District and the region. They understand how deadly this disease can be. Leaders at the District’s hospitals and health systems are stepping up to protect the health and wellness of their communities.
Hospitals are confident of both the science and the safety behind the vaccines. To date, roughly 70% of all DC hospital employees have been fully vaccinated, 52.3% of District residents are partially or fully vaccinated and 42.3% of DC residents are fully vaccinated.
There have been minimal side effects and the benefits are great.
Each health system or hospital will set a date after which vaccination against COVID-19 will be a condition of employment (or contract engagement for non-employees who work at hospitals). Medical and religious exemptions will be determined by each health system or hospital.
All hospitals will continue to require other infection controls including wearing masks and other personal protective gear, social distancing, handwashing, and other measures per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.
The recommendations are not intended to interfere with or supersede the policies adopted at each hospital. No legal proceeding should reference a deviation from any part of this document. Each hospital and health system implementation plan/policy should include:
- A communication plan. Begin early.
- Consider how to maximize trust in the way education is conducted
- Meet in-person with hesitant employee groups
- Share facts behind the science, safety, and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine
- Conduct ongoing education sessions/town halls on the vaccine
- Provide physicians, nurses and pharmacists to speak one-on-one with employees who request more information via phone, text, email or in-person
- Scope of policy to apply to all categories of health care worker (Ex: employees, contractors, volunteers, medical staff members, students, vendors, etc.)
- Inclusion of those who work remotely to promote safety of the community in accordance with U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidance
- Delineation of roles and responsibilities related to the implementation and management of the vaccination policy
- Availability of vaccine and prioritization in the event of shortages
- Mechanism to make the vaccine available to target groups
- A means to track and record compliance
- Including documentation for those who receive vaccinations outside the hospital or health system
- A process to define and evaluate requests for medical and religious exemptions
- Considerations for new hires
- Ex: Must provide evidence of prior completion of the vaccination series; If not previously vaccinated, share a specific timeframe for new employees to complete vaccination
- Outline the consequences of non-compliance
- Offer vaccine to employees’ family members
- Identify and empower vaccine “Ambassadors” who can influence their colleagues
- Bring vaccine clinics to the cafeteria, break rooms, and other gathering spots
- Register employee for vaccination at new hire orientation