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Most Virginia hospitals and elderly homes do not require employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine

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Ballad Health has suspended many of its third elective surgeries in just over a year due to a new surge in coronavirus cases that overwhelmed the hospital.

Due to the increasing number of serious infections throughout the region Low immunization rate And the managers of the system, an aggressive Delta variant, have asked more residents to vaccinate. But so far, Ballad, which serves most of southwestern Virginia and northeastern Tennessee, has avoided asking its workers for shots.

“Of course, we’ve been encouraging it since the beginning of December when they became available,” said Lisa Smith Goal, Chief Nursing Officer for the Health System. “And we continue to promote communication, but as of today, team members are not obliged to vaccinate.”

The ballad is not alone. Some major Virginia hospital systems have introduced employee vaccine requirements, such as Inova in northern Virginia, VCU Health in Richmond, and Valley Health in the northwest corner of the state, but about 27 in Virginia. Most of the medical systems in the world do not currently require employees to be vaccinated. .. These include key players such as Sentara, HCA and Bon Secours, who jointly operate more than 20 hospitals throughout the state.

The same is true for many Virginia care facilities, according to state health data. These facilities account for nearly 30% of outbreaks and about 36% of all COVID-19 deaths. Both LeadingAge Virginia and Virginia Health Care Association-Virginia Center for Assisted Living represent hundreds of nursing homes and assisted living facilities throughout the state, and it is not possible to say how many members have adopted this policy.

However, Dr. Jim Wright, medical director of Our Lady of Hope in Westminster Canterbury and Richmond, said employee vaccine requirements are still rare in many of the industry.

“In conversations with other medical directors, vaccination obligations are arguably a minority in nursing homes in Virginia,” he said. “For example, Westminster Canterbury is one of the only facilities I’ve heard recently that meets that requirement.”

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