Concerns have been raised recently among University of Arizona Health Sciences faculty about COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness and vaccination requirements for health care professionals who work at hospitals and other health care facilities.
As many of you know, the University of Arizona and University of Arizona Health Sciences have a long history of respecting the freedom of faculty, staff and students to publicly express their opinions on current issues, regardless of whether those opinions reflect institutional positions.
With regard to COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness, studies at UArizona Health Sciences and other institutions continue to find that the vaccines are highly effective in reducing the risk of serious illness and death, even from the delta variant of COVID-19. The vaccines continue to show that they protect the health of the vaccinated individual and reduce the risk of potential dissemination to those who can’t be vaccinated.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of those individuals who are being hospitalized as part of the surge of infections from the delta variant, nearly all have been individuals who are unvaccinated.
Earlier this summer, nearly 60 health care professional organizations representing doctors, nurses, pharmacists, infectious disease experts and others joined together in support of COVID-19 immunization for health care professionals, in keeping with an ethical commitment to protect the health and well-being of patients and residents of long-term care facilities.
In response, a growing number of hospitals and health care facilities locally, statewide and around the country are implementing COVID-19 vaccination requirements.
Vaccination requirements by private employers, including hospitals and other health care facilities, have long been considered lawful. UArizona Health Sciences will continue to work collaboratively with its clinical partners to ensure that Health Sciences personnel are in compliance with our partners’ health and safety requirements.
In addition, as noted in my announcement last week, although there is not a University requirement for employees and students to receive a vaccine, UArizona Health Sciences strongly encourages all faculty, staff and students to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Michael D. Dake, MD
Senior Vice President
University of Arizona Health Sciences