Flattening the Curve: Are Vaccination Mandates a Viable Strategy for Hospitals?
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (“SARS-CoV-2”) vaccines hold promise to control the pandemic and help restore normal social and economic life, even as variant threats loom. Since December 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) has issued three emergency use authorizations (“EUA”) for vaccines having demonstrated a high efficacy of preventing COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2, with more vaccines in various stages of testing.1 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) claims there is a growing body of evidence suggesting fully vaccinated people are less likely to have symptomatic infection or transmit the virus to others.2 However, as seen in new clusters of infection around the country, even highly effective vaccines cannot curb the pandemic without high population vaccine coverage and maintenance of other mitigation strategies. Amid the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, U.S. hospitals, health systems, and medical staffs are actively developing strategies and policies aimed at minimizing the spread of COVID-19 to protect their patients, visitors, employees, and staff. This issue is likely to become more prominent over time, especially if any of the EUA vaccines are fully approved by the FDA or the need to vaccinate a large share of the U.S. population becomes urgent in the face of threatening variants, even as some individuals continue to show reluctance to vaccination.
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