Gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, D, on Wednesday called on all Virginia health systems and health care providers to require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
McAuliffe made the announcement as part of a visit to Inova Center for Personalized Health in Fairfax. Inova Health System was one of the first in Virginia to require COVID-19 vaccinations for all of its 19,000 employees, an announcement the health care provider made in June of this year. Earlier this week, his campaign announced that it is requiring all campaign employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“The only way we’re going to end this pandemic and keep our economy strong is by getting every eligible Virginian vaccinated as quickly as possible. Leadership on this issue is critical, and I’m proud to be here today at Inova Health System, which has been a leader in our great Commonwealth in requiring its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19,” said McAuliffe. “I urge all health care systems and providers in Virginia to take this important step and require their employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Together, we can beat this virus once and for all, keep our fellow Virginians safe, and keep our Commonwealth’s economy running strong.”
Gov. Ralph Northam’s recent mandate that state employees be vaccinated for COVID-19 covers all state employees working in health care positions at Virginia’s state hospitals and health care facilities. Private hospitals and health systems, however, are not subject to the mandate, meaning there is no vaccine requirement for thousands of workers at privately-run health care systems, hospitals, and nursing homes. McAuliffe’s announcement calls on those private employers to require full vaccination by their employees to keep Virginians safe and the Commonwealth’s economy strong.
The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) in July issued a statement in support of hospitals and health systems amending existing vaccine policies to require COVID-19 vaccines for health care employees.
After McAuliffe’s announcement, the VHHA noted that its membership “includes a variety of unique organizations including independent health systems, multi-hospital health systems, and multi-state health systems that are located in communities small and large across Virginia.
“As such, different VHHA members will proceed at their own pace as they continue to fight COVID-19 and care for patients with other medical needs while also determining the best path forward on vaccination policies that are appropriate for their organizations, their staff, and their communities,” it stated.
“Some members have already announced updated vaccination policies. Others are in the development or evaluation stage. While VHHA’s statement was developed in consultation with its members, it is not a binding requirement of Association members,” the VHHA stated.
A former governor, McAuliffe is being challenged in November by GOP contender Glenn Youngkin, who supports parental rights regarding masks.
Princess Blanding, Liberation, and Paul Davis, Independent, also are running in the election. Blanding will appear on the general election ballot; Davis is a write-in candidate.
Northam is unable to seek reelection due to term limits.