Several groups call for mandatory vaccinations for healthcare workers

More than 50 groups representing millions of healthcare workers signed onto a letter Monday calling for vaccine mandates among doctors, nurses, and others in the medical field.

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"We stand with the growing number of experts and institutions that support the requirement for universal vaccination of health workers," states the letter, with signatories including the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

"Whatever concerns that individuals have about taking the vaccine, they’re valid concerns, they shouldn’t be discounted," explained Dr. Rachel Villanueva, the president of the National Medical Association, which also signed-on. "But in the end, it’s really about the greater good."

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also announced vaccine requirements Monday.

"We’re mandating vaccines for Title 38 employees because it’s the best way to keep Veterans safe, especially as the Delta variant spreads across the country," VA Secretary Denis McDonough said in a release.

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And in another sign pressure is mounting on unvaccinated healthcare workers specifically, the Maryland Department of Health announced the top 10 and bottom 10 nursing home facilities in the state ranked by percentage of staff with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Several facilities shared the top spot with 100 percent of employees vaccinated. Meanwhile, the facility at the opposite end of the list, Cumberland Healthcare Center, had just 41 percent of staff vaccinated, according to MDH.

"We are grateful for everyone who is vaccinated and it is imperative that facilities encourage staff who are still unvaccinated to get vaccinated as soon as possible to ensure that they and our elderly loved ones they care for stay safe," MDH Secretary Dennis R. Schrader said in a release.

 Representatives of Cumberland Healthcare Center didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.