More than 50 major medical organizations on Monday called for mandatory inoculation of all health care workers in the United States. Due to the rise of highly contagious variants such as the delta variant, getting vaccinated is now a matter of healthcare workers’ ethical obligation, the organizations said a joint statement released Monday.

“Due to the recent Covid-19 surge and the availability of safe and effective vaccines, our health care organizations and societies advocate that all health care and long-term care employers require their workers to receive the Covid-19 vaccine,” the statement said. “This is the logical fulfillment of the ethical commitment of all health care workers to put patients as well as residents of long-term care facilities first and take all steps necessary to ensure their health and well-being.”

The statement was signed by a wide array of medical professional associations, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians and many more.

In the last few weeks, more hospitals have been requiring their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Health care organizations rarely agree on anything, but this is one thing where they are speaking with one voice and unanimity,” said Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, an oncologist and bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote in the joint statement. “I think that attests to the wide recognition that this is the right thing to do for this country.”

The groups added that the mandatory vaccination of medical workers is especially vital to protect vulnerable populations, including the children under 12 who are not eligible for the vaccines yet, and those who have a compromised immune system due to their health condition.

“Indeed, this is why many health care and long term care organizations already require vaccinations for influenza, hepatitis B, and pertussis,” the groups added in their statement. “While we recognize some workers cannot be vaccinated because of identified medical reasons and should be exempted from a mandate, they constitute a small minority of all workers.”

On Monday, New York City has also announced it will require all the city staff to either show their proof of vaccination or a weekly negative test starting in September.

“New: We’re expanding the COVID Safety Requirement (proof of vaccination or a weekly negative test) to ALL City staff starting in September,” Dr. Dave Chokshi, New York City Health Commissioner, tweeted. “For workers in foster care, shelters or senior centers this will start even earlier, on August 16.”

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