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Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association wants to require all healthcare employees to get vaccine

VHHA's vice president of communications says if all healthcare employees are vaccinated, it would create a safer environment for patients.

NORFOLK, Va. — The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association wants a requirement that all health care employees get vaccinated.

Right now at some hospitals, that's not the case.

New COVID-19 variants are spreading fast and case numbers are rising in our community. The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association is taking a new approach to slowing the spread. The association wants every health care employee to be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“This is increasingly becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated. And what the data tells us is that the overwhelming majority of cases of new cases of hospitalizations, serious illness are among those who have not been vaccinated," said VHHA Vice President of Communications Julian Walker.

Walker said if all healthcare employees are vaccinated, it would create a safer environment for patients.

“This is really living the example, setting the example, and living the example by making this declaration,” said Walker.

Walker said some northern Virginia hospitals already mandate vaccines for staff.

“One of our members just today, Valley Health which is in the northern Shenandoah Valley who also have hospitals in West Virginia. They issued a statement saying they were going to have their employees to be vaccinated,” said Walker.

But Walker said different hospitals may implement the requirement at different times or not at all.

Three major hospital systems in Hampton Roads don’t require people to get the shot right now. 

Sentara Healthcare said it agrees with VHHA that the COVID-19 vaccine is effective at stopping the spread of the virus. Their full statement is below:

“Sentara Healthcare agrees with VHHA that COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19, as well as severe illness, hospitalization, and death due to the virus. At this time and with continued evaluation, COVID-19 vaccination remains voluntary for Sentara employees. We strongly encourage our team members as well as all community members who are eligible and able to get vaccinated. Sentara Healthcare will continue to do our part in educating and vaccinating our employees and the communities we serve,” said Sentara Healthcare VP & Chief Physician Dr. Jordan Asher.

Bon Secours is encouraging its employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Bon Secours strongly encourages associates to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. We are consistently reviewing local, state, and national guidelines. We continue to provide robust information and resources for our associates to inform their decision-making process,” said Public Relations/Communications Director Emma Swann.

Riverside Health System said it will keep working closely with VHHA recommendations regarding people who work in its facilities.

“Our biggest priority continues to be the safety and health of our team, our patients, and our community. We continue to provide education and access in order to provide the vaccine. We will continue to work closely with the recommendations from the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association regarding vaccination of for those working within healthcare,” said Riverside Health System Vice President of Human Resources Jesse Goodrich.

The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association is an alliance of 110 hospitals and 26 delivery systems advocating for certain policies across the state of Virginia.