Push grows for vaccine requirement at Oregon hospitals

Coronavirus

OAHHS wants hospitals treated as any other employer

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Healthcare Systems wants the state to allow hospitals to decide whether they require hospital workers be vaccinated.

Since 1989, Oregon law has prevented healthcare facilities from mandating vaccinations for employees.

Dave Northfield of OAHHS said he believes a requirement could be implemented without a law being changed in Oregon.

“What hospitals propose is that each individual hospital have the prerogative to require staff to be vaccinated,” he said Tuesday. “What we would like to see is for an individual hospital to have the option as every other employer does in the State of Oregon.”

The Oregon Health Authority responded to the group’s plans saying, “Vaccinations are a personal choice and that state and public health officials are working with healthcare providers to vaccinate as many Oregonians as possible, including healthcare staff, so we can put the pandemic behind us once and for all.”

“We continue to explore all options,” said OHA.

At neighboring Washington state’s PeaceHealth Medical Center in Vancouver, about 75% of its staff is vaccinated. Four workers were among the 14 infected at the hospital’s recent outbreak and only one of them was vaccinated, according to PeaceHealth.

In Washington, there is no state law preventing hospitals to rollout a vaccination requirement for staff, however, no hospitals have made such mandates.

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