On Sunday we noted that hospitals in four states have called in the National Guard to help alleviate a severe healthcare worker shortage caused by mass firings of those who refuse to comply with vaccine mandates.
Now, the Wall Street Journal reports that some of the largest US hospital systems have dropped vaccine mandates for workers amid soaring labor costs and struggles retaining enough nurses, technicians, ‘and even janitors’ to handle higher hospitalization rates due to the Delta variant.
According to hospital execs, public health authorities and nursing groups, pre-pandemic shortages of workers, including nurses, have been compounded by burnout, as well as the lucrative lure of nurses who work on short-term contracts in Covid hot spots.
More recently, thousands of nurses have left the industry or lost their jobs rather than get vaccinated. As of September, 30% of workers at more than 2,000 hospitals across the country surveyed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were unvaccinated.
“It’s been a mass exodus, and a lot of people in the healthcare industry are willing to go and shop around,” according to employment attorney Wade Symons, head of Mercer’s US regulatory practice. “If you get certain healthcare facilities that don’t require it, those could be a magnet for those people who don’t want the vaccine. They’ll probably have an easier time attracting labor.”