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Oregon hospital reps push for end of prohibition on vaccine mandates for health care workers

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Oregon hospital reps push for end of prohibition on vaccine mandates for health care workers

LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. -- Becky Hultberg, President and CEO of the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems released a statement this afternoon regarding vaccination rates among Oregon health care workers, arguing that the state should mandate vaccinations in the field.

“As the number of hospitals and health systems requiring COVID-19 vaccination for employees continues to grow across the U.S., here in Oregon we can’t even have the conversation," Hultberg said. "Ensuring health care workers are vaccinated protects vulnerable patients, visitors, and coworkers. It is unconscionable to leave tools on the table during a global pandemic. It’s well past time for state leaders to address this misguided policy.”

Oregon law currently prohibits requiring health care workers to be vaccinated as a condition of their employment. Hultberg says that the Oregon Health Authority could write a rule ending this prohibition, or the Legislature could pass a new law.

According to new data released by the OHA, 94% of Oregon dentists, nearly nine in 10 medical doctors and nearly eight in 10 nurse practitioners had been vaccinated.  However, data also shows that health care workers among American Indian/Alaskan Natives, Latino/a/x, Black and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander communities are under vaccinated compared their white counterparts. 

More than 30 health systems and hospital associations nationwide have backed vaccine mandates for their workers. Other countries --  including Italy, France and Greece -- have already instituted mandatory vaccines for health care workers.