“It’s become a real challenge for some hospitals to get enough staffing,” Ms. Emerson-Shea said, adding that her organization has asked the California attorney general to investigate reports of price gouging by agencies charging hospitals hundreds of dollars an hour for travel nurses.
The State of Vaccine Mandates in the U.S.
- Vaccine rules. On Aug. 23, the F.D.A. granted full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for people 16 and up, paving the way for mandates in both the public and private sectors. Such mandates are legally allowed and have been upheld in court challenges.
- College and universities. More than 400 colleges and universities are requiring students to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Almost all are in states that voted for President Biden.
- Schools. California became the first state to issue a vaccine mandate for all educators in public and private schools. New York City has also introduced a vaccine mandate for teachers and staff, but it has yet to take effect because of legal challenges. On Sept. 27, a federal appeals panel reversed a decision that temporarily paused that mandate. it. Los Angeles has mandated vaccines for students 12 and older who are attending class in person.
- Hospitals and medical centers. Many hospitals and major health systems are requiring employees to get vaccinated. Mandates for health care workers in California and New York State appear to have compelled thousands of holdouts to receive shots.
- New York City. Proof of vaccination is required of workers and customers for indoor dining, gyms, performances and other indoor situations. City education staff and hospital workers must also get a vaccine.
- At the federal level. On Sept. 9, President Biden announced a vaccine mandate for the vast majority of federal workers. This mandate will apply to employees of the executive branch, including the White House and all federal agencies and members of the armed services.
- In the private sector. Mr. Biden has mandated that all companies with more than 100 workers require vaccination or weekly testing, helping propel new corporate vaccination policies. Some companies, like United Airlines and Tyson Foods, had mandates in place before Mr. Biden’s announcement.
This week, state public health authorities offered health facilities a 45-day grace period on compliance to fill critical staff shortages caused by the mandate.
But California has generally taken a tough stance on pandemic health measures. At the start of the crisis, the state was among the first to issue stay-at-home orders, and it has been among the most aggressive in promoting masks and vaccinations.
Mr. Newsom — who earlier this month overcame a pandemic-fueled effort to remove him from office — said this week that the state is “in discussions” with school districts about a mandate requiring eligible students to get the vaccine. State health officials this week also extended the health worker mandate to include thousands of in-home health workers and health employees at senior centers, disability centers and hospices, giving them a Nov. 30 deadline.
“This is a critically important mandate that helps ensure the safety of all individuals in our health care system, and it especially protects those who are critically ill who rely on hospitals and other facilities to protect their health,” Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, the state’s public health director, said in a statement, adding that health authorities are watching deadlines closely and “expect full compliance.”
Compliance appears to be the aim at the state’s largest health care employers. At the massive Kaiser Permanente system, for example, more than nine in 10 of the 216,000 employees and 23,000 physicians in California are fully vaccinated, a spokesman for the system said. Two weeks ago, the system’s employee vaccination rate was about 87 percent.
At Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, about 97 percent of 17,000 or so employees are now vaccinated. Dr. Jeffrey A. Smith, the chief operating officer, said that while most of the hospital’s staff and physicians were early adopters, as many as 800 employees got their shots after the state mandate limited their options to work at other California hospitals.