No, the available vaccines are not FDA-approved, operating under emergency use authorizations, the veteran frontline physician conceded — but this is not a time to wait. More such mandates are likely in the coming days, Johnson said. “That’s not a good enough excuse,” said Johnson, who has studied data and practices in places such as Italy, China, Europe and New York City. “We have good data that (vaccination) is extremely effective and very, very safe. It’s been given to millions and millions and millions of people.”
Fast-moving events over the past week likely stirred Ascension to act, said Dr. Roger Johnson, a pulmonary and critical care physician at St. Vincent and a member of the Vanderburgh County Health Board’s COVID-19 subcommittee. More:Almost 100% of Vanderburgh COVID cases, deaths, hospitalizations among unvaccinated, data shows
Vanderbilt University Medical Center told employees this month it will require those with leadership roles to receive the coronavirus vaccine. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said Monday it will require 115,000 of its frontline health care workers to be vaccinated over the next two months, making it the first federal agency to issue such a mandate. Deaconess Health System did not respond to inquiries about its policies Wednesday, but Deaconess President Dr. James Porter said this month employees would be required to be fully vaccinated once available vaccines are granted full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Johnson estimated that 90% or more of employees at Ascension St. Vincent Evansville already are vaccinated against COVID-19 — but he has known nurses who held out over fears about infertility and breastfeeding. Those fears, he said, have been debunked. “They’re very young and otherwise healthy, and their estimation is, ‘My risk is low. Why would I roll the dice?’ But I think they’re rolling the dice the other way,” Johnson said. More:In business hit hard by coronavirus, some nursing home workers still won’t get vaccinated
“When people get sick, they don’t say, ‘Whoa, don’t give me that because it’s not FDA-approved.’ They say, ‘Save me!’” he said. Ascension St. Vincent Evansville used remdesivir to treat COVID-19 patients under emergency use authorization before that drug was approved, Johnson said.
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