97% of Colorado health care workers received COVID shots or exempt by state deadline

Ninety-nine percent of Colorado health care workers were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Tuesday, although those providing home care are far less likely to get the shot.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported that 90.2% of workers were fully vaccinated, and 1.4% were partially vaccinated. More than 5% of workers were exempt: 4.2% were religious exemptions and 1.3% were medical.

The state health board had set a Sunday deadline for almost all facilities to comply with the vaccination mandate issued in late August. Individual doctors’ offices and urgent care facilities, which are not regulated by the state, are exempt.

It was not clear from the state data how many of the 3% who were not vaccinated and who were not exempt were still working in health care. Some hospitals have reported that they have already fired those employees or have taken their non-compliance as a letter of resignation, while others have stated that unvaccinated workers are on leave while they are trying to find a solution. trying.

The high overall vaccination rate hid the wide variation. Dialysis centers had the highest rates, with more than 95% of staff listed as being fully vaccinated. This is not entirely surprising, as people who have kidney disease are at higher risk of hospitalization or death from many infections, including COVID-19.

On the other end of the spectrum, only about 79% of people working for home care agencies were fully vaccinated. Home care agencies primarily provide personal care that does not require medical training, such as helping clients get dressed or do housework. Most home care clients are over 65 or have a significant disability, which means they may also be at higher risk if a worker inadvertently brings the virus into their homes.

The state dashboard did not allow comparisons between employee types, but nationwide data showed that people with a higher level of education were more likely to be vaccinated than those with less schooling.

The full vaccination rate, as reported to the Colorado Department of Health as of Tuesday afternoon:

  • Dialysis Center: 95.4%
  • Assisted Living Amenities: 91.9%
  • Hospital: 91.6%
  • Community Mental Health Center: 91.5%
  • Hospice: 91.5%
  • private hospital: 90.8%
  • Ambulatory Surgery Center: 90.7%
  • freestanding emergency rooms 90.2%
  • Community Clinics: 88.7%
  • Acute Treatment Units: 88.0% (these provide short-term psychiatric treatment for people who need something between outpatient and hospital care)
  • Intermediate care facilities for people with intellectual disabilities: 87.0%
  • Birth Center: 86.2%
  • Convocation Center: 85.4% (These provide inpatient care to people recovering from injury or illness.
  • Residential care facilities for people with intellectual disabilities: 84.3%
  • Home Health Agencies: 81.7% (these primarily provide medical care as opposed to home care agencies)
  • Home Care Agencies: 78.7%

There was also significant variation within categories. Denver Health reported that more than 97% of its employees were fully vaccinated, but Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo showed that only 88% were.

Colorado health systems reported that relatively few workers remained without vaccination:

  • SCL Health, The company, which owns five hospitals in Colorado, reported that as of Monday about 1% of employees had not complied. About 5.3% achieved medical or religious exemptions, and the rest were vaccinated.
  • Centura Health, which has 15 hospitals in Colorado and two in Kansas, reported that 0.3% of its employees across the system did not receive shots or exemptions.
  • HealthOne, which owns eight hospitals in Colorado, reported that as of last week 93% of employees had had the vaccine, and less than 1% had received remission. Updated numbers were not available on Tuesday.
  • uchealth Set an October 1 deadline. It fired 119 people, or about 0.5% of staff, for failing to vaccinate.

The SCL said it would suspend the employees for three days, and that it would be treated as a notice of resignation if they did not receive the shot or applied for a waiver by the end of their suspension. Centura said it is working with unvaccinated employees to bring them into compliance, and HealthOne did not say it would take steps.

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