UAB Health System will require workers at UAB’s hospitals and clinics to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination by Nov. 12, UAB announced Tuesday.
“This decision was made after an extensive review and has been approved as the standard of care by the Medical Executive Committee,” Said UAB Health System CEO Reid Jones in a statement. “The scientific data demonstrate that vaccination is the primary way to protect our most vulnerable patients and our community from COVID-19. We join an extensive list of other major health systems across the country that have announced they also will require COVID-19 vaccinations of their faculty and staff.
“We are sensitive that some employees have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine based upon personal concerns,” the statement continues. “Over the coming weeks, we will be sharing information, engaging in conversations, and answering any questions as we work to overcome hesitancy.”
UAB will pay $400 to employees who have already been vaccinated, and those who get first doses of one of the two mRNA vaccines or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine by Sept. 30.
“By receiving a COVID vaccination, you protect our most vulnerable patients, as well as your own health, and that of your colleagues and families. Together, we will put this pandemic behind us so we can fully focus on meeting the needs of those who come to us for care,” Jones said.
There were just two available ICU beds across all Alabama hospitals on Monday as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continued to surge statewide.
“Patients in our hospital and clinical settings are vulnerable, very sick and at higher risk for complications,” said UAB Health System Vice President of Clinical Support Services Dr. Sarah Nafziger, in a statement. “Unvaccinated health care workers put these patients at greater risk, given that their jobs require close interaction with them and others who are immunocompromised. UAB Medicine’s Medical Executive Committee has determined the appropriate standard of care requires vaccination – it is the best way to provide a safe environment to care for its patients, as they are uniquely susceptible to Covid-19.”
“Around 90 percent of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated, and we are seeing more and more unvaccinated people having severe illness and dying from this Delta variant – even younger people without pre-existing conditions,” Nafziger continued. “The Delta variant is serious, and aggressive measures like vaccine requirements are absolutely critical in stopping further spread. We know the risks of getting COVID far outweigh the minor, short-term risks of getting a vaccine, and the Delta variant is making this call to action more imperative than ever before.”