Um. One of the largest medical systems in the U.S. will NOT require its 89K employees to get the Covid vaccine due to "general uncertainty" around such a new treatment.

Dr. Graham Snyder
Dec 10th

Well that's weird.

The gigantic University of Pittsburgh Medical Center — one of the top health care systems in the U.S. — will NOT require its 89,000 employees to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

This despite requiring all of them to get the flu vaccine every year.

The reason? PennLive explains:

The main reason is general uncertainty about the COVID-19 vaccine -- the first of several vaccines in the pipeline could receive emergency approval from the U.S. government this month, possibly within days. UPMC is preparing to begin offering COVID-19 vaccine to front-line health care workers as soon as this month.

Dr. Graham Snyder, UPMC's medical director of infection prevention and hospital epidemiology, said UPMC's mandatory flu vaccination policy "is based on decades of experience with the influenza vaccine."

But there's no comparable data for a COVID-19 vaccine, or on whether a mandate is the best way to get large numbers of people to become vaccinated, Snyder said on Tuesday.

That's right. This huge conglomerate of health care professionals and experts will not be required to get the Rona vaccine because it's so new that there's no way of telling if it's safe in the medium to long term.

How huge is UPMC? Wikipedia explains:

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) is a $21 billion integrated global nonprofit health enterprise that has 89,000 employees, 40 hospitals with more than 8,000 licensed beds, 700 clinical locations including outpatient sites and doctors' offices, a 3.7 million-member health insurance division, as well as commercial and international ventures. It is closely affiliated with its academic partner, the University of Pittsburgh. It is considered a leading American health care provider, as its flagship facilities have ranked in U.S. News & World Report "Honor Roll" of the approximately 15 to 20 best hospitals in America for over 15 years. As of 2016, flagship hospital, UPMC Presbyterian is ranked 12th nationally among the best hospitals (and first in Pennsylvania) by U.S. News & World Report and ranked in 15 of 16 specialty areas when including UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital. This does not include UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh which ranked in the top 10 of pediatric centers in a separate US News ranking.

Yeah the Rona vaccine? They don't have to get it. Too new, too much uncertainty.

Here's what Dr. Graham Snyder, UPMC's medical director of infection prevention and hospital epidemiology, said about that:

"Until we learn more and build our own experience with this vaccine, plus, until we see the uptake of vaccine in our communities, and have an understanding about the role that vaccination has in ending this pandemic, it's not the right thing to make it mandatory [for our employees]."

Hardly a vote of confidence from the medical community...


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