An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

WA Hospitals Urged To Require Covid Employee Vaccinations

providence_mount_carmel_exterior.providence.jpg
Courtesy of Providence Health Care
/

The trade organization for Washington hospitals is urging its members to require their employees be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
 
The governing board of the Washington State Hospital Association last week approved a resolution supporting vaccination requirements. CEO Cassie Sauer told reporters on Monday that it’s now up to individual hospitals as to comply.

“Many of them are working on it right now. I think it will be a majority for sure, but I don’t know yet how many. Some have already announced that they’re moving this way. Others are in the process this week and next of doing so," Sauer said.

Sauer says some hospitals are worried about losing employees who don’t want to be vaccinated. But Tacoma emergency room physician Nathaniel Schlicher says many hospitals in the Southwest have found that not to be a big problem.

“The actual departure rate was around 1%, so it was not the feared 30% or anything like that, so I think we have some good data there," he said.

He says many hospitals have decided the risks of having unvaccinated providers around sick patients are greater than the possibility of losing a few employees.

Spokane County had 119 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, and has 55 people hospitalized. About 55% of people in Spokane County have had at least one dose of the vaccine.