Hospitals coast to coast are demanding their employees get vaccinated against covid as the highly contagious delta variant tears through populations with low vaccination rates.
Nearly 1,500 hospitals — roughly a quarter of all hospitals in the U.S. —now require staffers to get a covid vaccine, said Colin Milligan, a spokesperson for the American Hospital Association. More follow suit every day as hospital leaders aim to head off staff shortages like those experienced last year and to keep employees from becoming vectors of the disease.
But that’s not an option in Montana, where a law passed this year amid a pandemic backlash prohibits employers, including most health care facilities, from mandating any vaccine for their staffs. Nor is it in Oregon, where a 32-year-old law similarly bans vaccine mandates for health workers.
‘I cannot imagine passing any worse law than that’
At least seven states have enacted laws to prevent covid vaccine mandates or so-called vaccine passports that would provide proof of vaccination, according to the National Academy for State Health Policy. Most restrict only state and local governments or specifically exempt health care facilities, but Montana’s