The United States will soon require most new immigrants to be vaccinated against Covid-19, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Louisiana, and Michigan.
- District of Columbia: The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on Tuesday announced that new immigrants to the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 as part of the country's routine medical examination beginning Oct. 1, the Washington Post reports. According to USCIS, most individuals who apply to become permanent U.S. residents must undergo immigration medical examination "to show they are free from any conditions that would render them inadmissible under the health-related grounds." Currently, applicants for permanent residency are already required to be vaccinated against several infectious diseases, including measles, polio, influenza, and tetanus. The new Covid-19 vaccination requirement follows updated guidance from CDC, USCIS said. Exemptions will be allowed for medical conditions, a lack of vaccine supply, or if the vaccine is "not age-appropriate" for an applicant, the Post reports, and religious exemptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis. (Pietsch, Washington Post, 9/15)
- Louisiana: Willis-Knighton Health System last week announced its president and CEO James Elrod will retire Sept. 30. According to Becker's Hospital Review, Elrod is the longest-tenured hospital administrator in the country, having served 56 years with Willis-Knighton. Jerry Fielder will succeed Elrod as president and CEO of the organization. Fielder has held multiple leadership roles since he joined the health system in 1990 and most recently served as its COO. (Jensik, Becker's Hospital Review, 9/13)
- Michigan: Spectrum Health will allow employees who can prove natural immunity to the coronavirus to be exempt from required vaccination, Becker's Hospital Review reports. The organization first announced a vaccine mandate for its workers on July 28 and has allowed both religious and medical exemptions. "As new research has emerged, the medical exemption committee has recommended to allow a temporary exemption for those who have had a positive PCR or antigen test for Covid-19 from a CLIA-certified lab plus a positive qualitative antibody test within the past three months," Spectrum said. "While we still recommend vaccination for people with prior Covid-19 infection, according to this new research, there is increasing evidence that natural infection affords protection from Covid-19 reinfection and severe symptoms for a period of time." According to Spectrum, the requirements for this exemption may be modified if future research shows protection from natural immunity wanes, is long lasting, or is similar to full immunity. (Gooch, Becker's Hospital Review, 9/15)