Colorado Mandates Vaccines for Healthcare Workers

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of Russia's Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, at a vaccination centre in Moscow on April 26, 2021. (Photo by Natalia KOLESNIKOVA / AFP) (Photo by NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP via Getty Images)
NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP via Getty Images

Colorado is the latest state to mandate the coronavirus vaccine for healthcare workers following the State Board of Health approving the requirement.

In a 6-1 vote on Monday, the board approved the emergency rule requiring healthcare workers to be vaccinated for the Chinese coronavirus. According to the AP, the rule “applies to staff and contract workers who work with patients or clients at about 3,800 licensed facilities regulated by the board.” Doctors’ offices and urgent care centers are not included.

All workers must receive their first dose by September 30 and be fully vaccinated by October 31. The state’s board estimates that just short of one-third, or 30 percent, of healthcare workers in the state, remain unvaccinated.

The move followed Gov. Jared Polis’s (D) August 17 request to the board, asking for the consideration of a requirement for those “involved in health care and support staff who regularly come into contact and share spaces with vulnerable populations including patients seeking medical care in essential medical settings and in congregate senior living facilities.”

Several concerned citizens expressed concern, suggesting a mandate could lead to greater staff shortages as some would rather quit than be forced to get the shot.

A person holds up a protest sign as people gather at City Hall to protest vaccine mandates on August 09, 2021 in New York City. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week that as of August 16th proof of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination will be required to attend indoor restaurants, gyms, and entertainment venues with enforcement of the mandate to begin on September 13th. Gov. Andrew Cuomo also announced a vaccination mandate for state employees and patient-facing health care workers at state hospitals with an option to get weekly testing. According to CDC data, NYC is now considered a "high" or "substantial" COVID transmission area, after an increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) infections. The Delta variant now accounts for over 80% of all positive cases in NYC. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

A person holds up a protest sign as people gather at City Hall to protest vaccine mandates on August 09, 2021 in New York City.  (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

“I would rather protect that freedom of choice than what somebody is saying. You have to get this,” one protesting nurse, Giovanna Goldman, said. “I should have that right, to be able to say yes or no.”

Workers can seek an exemption based on health or religion.

According to the AP, “Facilities can ask for waivers from the state to allow less than 100% of their workers to be vaccinated but must propose a plan to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.”

Other states, including MaineNew York, and California, have imposed similar requirements for healthcare workers. The mandates have triggered protests and resignations. One San Diego nurse blasted the mandates during a County Board of Supervisors meeting this month, revealing she quit her job due to the mandates.

“I was no problem working in the healthcare system over the last 18 months without a vaccine. But now, all of the sudden, I’m a threat to public health? Tell me where this makes sense,” she said.

“All of you sitting up here with your masks on, you know that those masks don’t do anything,” she continued.

“As a healthcare provider, we are taught how to use PPE. We’re taught universal precautions, and we know how to implement them when we’re dealing with patients who have a viral infection. I don’t understand how you guys don’t see the bigger picture here,” the registered nurse continued, policymakers of creating a healthcare crisis.

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“So now, in San Diego County, I know for a fact there’s several hospitals that are operating an all bed crisis. [Do] you know why we’re doing that? … Because we have a nursing shortage, and you know that,” she said.

“These numbers are skewered. The testing is skewered. This needs to stop. I don’t understand,” she added.

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