WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - D.C. healthcare workers will be required to get at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of September.
The announcement was made at a press conference Monday with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Health's Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt.
Nesbitt said all healthcare workers must receive at least the first dose of Pfizer or Moderna – or the one dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine – by September 30.
This comes as D.C. Health reports a 21.3 daily case rate – which the health director said is double the rate this time last year, even with the vaccines. She also reiterated that the vast majority of new cases are from those who are not fully vaccinated.
Nesbitt noted that because vaccines are still categorized under the emergency use authorization order, an exception can still be made for those who refuse to receive their shots.
She said for those healthcare workers who are employed by a private contractor, it will be the responsibility of the employer to establish a testing requirement.
"For healthcare workers – we are not establishing at the city level – a requirement that they be tested if they object to vaccination while the vaccines are approved through an emergency use authorization," Nesbitt said. She said her office is confident that the city's healthcare partners would create additional layers of safety that would require testing if not vaccinated.
"But let me be very clear – this is because of the emergency use authorization and the language in the emergency use authorization that requires people to have an option outside of vaccination," Nesbitt continued. "When that EUA is not what we're operating – as soon as one of the vaccines is fully approved – no one will have an exemption unless it is for sincerely held religious beliefs or for medical reasons documented by their healthcare provider."
The requirement applies to:
- All licensed, certified and registered health professionals
- All EMS providers such as paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs)
- All unlicensed healthcare workers (i.e. patient care technicians, personal care aides, environmental services staff)
Vaccinations will be required:
- Before the date of submission of an application for licensure, certification, or registration,
- On the date of submission of an application for renewal of licensure, registration, or certification,
- Before beginning employment or a contractual relationship if not required to have a license, certification, or registration, or
- On or before a date specified by the Department of Health in written or electronic correspondence to the person.
Since May, 45 people have died from COVID-19 in D.C. None of them were fully vaccinated, officials say.