CLEVELAND — Following U.S. President Joe Biden's Thursday address to the nation, outlining plans to mandate the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine for nearly 100 million American workers, two of Ohio's most prominent employers may soon have to finally announce a vaccine requirement.
In line with President Biden's announcements, both the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospital, who have yet to previously announce a vaccine mandate for employees, will be required to have employees immunized against the coronavirus.
Earlier this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a vaccine requirement for nursing home staff. Now, under Biden's new plans, healthcare centers such as hospitals, home health agencies, and dialysis centers will be asked to do the same.
3News reached out to Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals officials for comment following the president's announcement, asking whether or not they have immediately changed any policies in regards to the vaccine.
"The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and are the best way to protect individuals from severe illness or death from the virus," said Cleveland Clinic officials in a statement. "We are awaiting more information and plan to comply with federal requirements. Nearly 80% of our caregivers have already received their COVID-19 vaccine."
UH Senior Media Relation Strategist George Stamatis released the following statement to 3News Thursday evening:
"As we’ve maintained, we believe that the vaccines are safe, effective and recommended. We believe in the science because we participated in developing the vaccines. COVID-19 vaccines prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death. Until we have a chance to review the rules the President referenced in his address this evening, we can’t comment on the specific requirements, but believe that getting vaccinated is one of the most important ways people can protect themselves, the people they care about, and their communities from COVID-19."
President Biden did not mince words Thursday when addressing the nation, saying that his decision to implement the new mask mandates is a move to "protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated coworkers."
The president's announcement comes as vaccination rates across the country have steadily plateaued, and with a surge of new cases fueled by coronavirus variants.
"We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us," Biden said Tuesday. The unvaccinated minority “can cause a lot of damage, and they are.”
In May, 3News Investigates found that thousands of Northeast Ohio medical professionals had not received the COVID-19 vaccine, despite being one of the first groups to have access to the shot.
A survey done in June by the American Medical Association (AMA) found that more than 96 percent of the nation's doctors are vaccinated against COVID-19, while a survey conducted by the American Nurses Association found nearly two out of every ten nurses are unvaccinated.
You can watch President Biden's full Thursday night address in the player below: