Washington, D.C., will require health care workers in the nation’s capital to get at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of next month, officials announced Monday.
All health care workers will have to get at least the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson by Sept. 30, LaQuandra Nesbitt, the director of the D.C. Department of Health, said during a briefing.
The requirement applies not only to all licensed, certified and registered health employees, but also all emergency medical services providers, including paramedics and emergency medical technicians, and all unlicensed health care workers, including patient care technicians, personal care aides and environmental services staff.
Two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna shots or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are needed before submitting an application for a license, certification or registration, or on the date a renewal application is submitted. It is also required before starting employment or a contract with the D.C. government if a license is not needed.
Certain workers can be exempt from the requirement because of their religious beliefs or medical conditions.
“It is necessary for us to ensure that we’re creating safe environments in our health care facilities and in … any places where people receive health care to help disrupt the spread of COVID-19 and to make sure we can prevent outbreaks in these environments,” Nesbitt said.
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Vaccine requirements have gained traction around the country as the spread of the delta variant has sparked high COVID-19 transmission. D.C. has reached high transmission as of Saturday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The nation’s capital has seen cases surge in recent weeks with a seven-day average of 157 cases per day — more than double the average from two weeks prior, according to data from The New York Times.
Last week, D.C. announced it will require city employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo regular testing.
Other cities have taken their vaccine requirements further, with New York and San Francisco planning to request proof of vaccination for customers and workers to participate in indoor settings. In New York, people need to show they had at least one dose, and San Francisco will ask for proof of full vaccination.