‘Time for health care employers to lead by example’: Doctors call for vaccine requirement for health care workers

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin’s largest organization of physicians is calling on all health care organizations in the state to require its employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Wisconsin Medical Society released a statement Monday morning, saying they want to see the requirement for health organizations and workers due to the spread of the Delta variant in the state, and to help the state move closer toward herd immunity.

“We have been educating both our patients and the public on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and countering the inaccuracies portrayed in much of social media,” Wisconsin Medical Society COVID-19 Task Force Chair David Letzer, DO said in the statement.

Employers in Wisconsin are legally allowed to require their employees to get vaccinated. Epic Systems, which is based in Verona and powers the electric records for many hospitals and health organizations across the country, is telling employees they have until the end of October to get vaccinated.

“At some point, all employers have to step up and start mandating vaccinations to protect their employees and customers,” Letzer said. “Because the Delta variant is two to three times more infectious than the original strain, the time has come to take this next step.”

The Wisconsin Medical Society says it would like to see the vaccine required for all health care employees unless they have rare medical conditions preventing them from doing so.

Several health care organizations in the state have already begun requiring employees and partners get vaccinated, including SSM Health in the Madison area. SSM Health made their requirement in late June, giving employees until the end of September to get vaccinated.

“Mandates similar to what we already have in place for measles or influenza are needed,” Letzer said. “It’s time for all health care employers to lead by example, do the right thing and take this necessary next step.”