California mandates vaccinations for all health care workers

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California is mandating all health care workers be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued an order on Thursday mandating workers in health care settings be fully inoculated or receive their second dose of a coronavirus vaccine by Sept. 30.

The order applies to hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and other health care facilities such as dialysis centers, hospice facilities, adult psychiatric hospitals and clinics and doctors’ offices.

The order is different than the vaccination mandate that California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced late last month.

Newsom’s mandate, which went into effect Monday, said that state employees and workers in health care and high-risk congregate settings would either have to provide proof of vaccination or submit to weekly coronavirus testing.

Thursday’s order from the department doesn’t give health care workers the option of being submitted to weekly virus testing.

However, it does allow for workers to qualify for either a medical or religious exemption. Employees who receive an exemption would then be submitted to weekly testing and mask requirements.

In a statement, the CDPH attributed its decision to an increase in coronavirus infections primarily due to the delta variant. The cases are primarily occurring among those who are unvaccinated. 

“As we continue to see an increase in cases and hospitalizations due to the Delta variant of COVID-19, it’s important that we protect the vulnerable patients in these settings,” Tomás J. Aragón, CDPH director and state public health officer, said in a statement.

“Today’s action will also ensure that health care workers themselves are protected. Vaccines are how we end this pandemic,” Aragón said.

In a separate order, the CDPH directed hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and intermediate care facilities to verify that visitors are fully vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19 in the prior 72 hours before a visit.

Tags California Coronavirus COVID-19 Gavin Newsom Vaccine hesitancy vaccine mandates

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