I believe that personal choice must be left to professional responsibility when a person’s choice puts patients at risk. It is for this reason that I support a national mandate that makes the Covid vaccine mandatory for all health care workers who work with patients, including nurses, doctors, dietitians, domestic helpers and others.

On Monday, amid a worrying spike in U.S. Covid-19 cases, more than 50 health groups – including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Nursing, and the American Nurses Association – issued as Joint announcement Demand that all healthcare and long-term care employers have their employees vaccinated against Covid 19.

A mandate that specifically stipulates that frontline medical staff must be vaccinated against Covid is right for patients.

In a recently published viral Facebook post, doctor Brytney Cobia reported. from Alabama described the treatment of unvaccinated patients who are dying to ask about the Covid vaccine. Her only choice is to tell them it is too late, but she touchedly described how she encouraged her families to get vaccinated to honor their dying loved ones.

It should be common sense that patient care institutions cannot have staff who are in the same situation as Dr. Cobia: infected with Covid, contagious and terminally ill.

The four primary ones Principles called of medical ethicists are benevolence (doing good), non-harm (no harm), justice, and autonomy. It’s easy to see that the Covid vaccine requirement for frontline workers meets the standards of charity and malice, but health workers who oppose the vaccine often rely on their own autonomy as patients and insist that they do so Are right not to be vaccinated. A medical diagnosis of our broken public health system

You have that right, but ethical due diligence requires the fairest assessment, which means that all patients must be treated equally and fairly. With justice in mind, it is clear that frontline workers who remain unvaccinated against Covid are offering unequal care that is also unfair because it threatens patients.

Working as a nurse with bone marrow transplant patients has shown me how susceptible immunocompromised hospital patients are to disease. Dying patients with yeast infections had ugly black spots on their arms and legs. One patient developed pneumonia after chemotherapy killed all of his white blood cells, and the pneumonia killed him. Another developed a rare transplant complication that made him unaware of who he was and spoke nonsense.

These dark stories make it clear why at least employees who work with cancer patients should be vaccinated against Covid.

But all hospital patients are more susceptible to disease than the general population because they are physiologically susceptible. Being weak and stressed physically and emotionally decreases your ability to fight off all contagious diseases. Hospital patients also tend to be sleep deprived due to being woken up in the middle of the night for vital signs, laboratory tests, and IV medication. Fatigue also leads to a weakened immune response.

The end of the mask rule on airplanes would kill peopleWhen Covid hit state by state last year, patients’ increased susceptibility to disease played out in real time in qualified care facilities in the United States. Everyone in a nursing home is fragile by definition; Admission to such an institution recognizes a considerable need for care. More than 184,000 employees and residents of various long-term care facilities have died of Covid. according to the AARP dashboard.

The dashboard also shows that as of July 15, only 56.7% of nursing home workers were fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Comparing the number of people who died of Covid in long-term care facilities with the number of 43.3% percent of employees who are not vaccinated against Covid is a mystery. One could imagine that a sense of ethical responsibility to patients would lead any of these employees to get vaccinated, especially as the Delta variant sweeps the country making the unvaccinated sick. But that didn’t happen.

The problem with the frontline health workers opposed to the Covid vaccine has been came into focus last June by unvaccinated staff at the Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas. The Houston Methodist requested Covid vaccinations for all of its employees and around 150 workers who refused to be vaccinated resigned or were fired. Hospitals ideally want to create the safest environment for patients to face Covid, but so far few hospital systems have mandated the Covid vaccine. The problem is, the delta variant is there much more contagious than previous versions of the virus, and as it spreads, hospitals across the country will again be inundated with Covid patients.

Immediate mandatory vaccination of frontline health workers protects current and future patients, including children and staff. Some anti-vaccine Americans may never be convinced to get the shot, but a mandate would guarantee that anyone entering a care facility is as safe as possible from Covid.

And in my experience as a nurse, the need for vaccinations is normal. Starting nursing school required evidence of childhood vaccinations, an MMR booster, and two rounds of the hepatitis B vaccine. In the fall of 2019, I was helping nursing students getting flu vaccinations at a Pittsburgh hospital: the vaccine was required for all employees.

American opposition to vaccine mandates has a history of over 100 years, according to the latest book by Yale law professor John Fabian Witt, “American Contagions,” but an individual’s right to reject a vaccine is not absolute in health care, nor is rules about the washing and sterile procedures cannot be ignored due to employee preferences.

In fact, working in a hospital or qualified care facility requires following a wide variety of rules to protect patients, and vaccination against Covid easily falls into that category.

A vaccination order for medical personnel could be implemented through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS is currently contracting all types of action from health workers. So why couldn’t they require all frontline workers in healthcare facilities that accept Medicare or Medicaid payments to be fully vaccinated against Covid?

Facilities could pay a fine if staff remained unvaccinated, similar to CMS’s new rules who call for price transparency. Limiting the requirement to front-line personnel gives facilities room to move non-vaccinating staff to non-clinical workplaces, but they could also require all staff to be vaccinated.

In her book “On Immunity” Eula Biss argues that “Debates over vaccination” “can be understood as power talks”. She is right, and while it is unusual for me not to support health workers, take a stand, it is even more rare for health workers to fight for actions (or in this case, inactivity) that could harm their patients.

A year ago, my husband, who is rarely sick, had a heart attack that would have killed him if he had not been taken care of quickly. After coming home from the hospital, he developed Covid-like symptoms such as fever, chills, and muscle pain. His Covid test was negative, but despite all the masking he was infected with a serious virus in the hospital, probably because he was under heavy physical strain and the hospitals are full of sick people.

Unvaccinated health care workers have an ethical obligation not to add to the threats their already vulnerable patients face.