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Board of Health to consider mandatory COVID vaccine for some health care workers

The state board will hold a special session at 4 p.m. to consider requiring COVID-19 vaccination for staff in health care settings with high-risk patients.

DENVER — The State Board of Health will consider requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for health care workers in some settings with high-risk patients.

The board will hold a special session at 4 p.m. Monday to consider rules requiring licensed health-care facilities to mandate personnel who interact with patients to get the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

This was in response to a Aug. 17 letter that Gov. Jared Polis sent to the board requesting it consider requiring vaccination for all individuals “involved in health care and support staff who regularly come into contact and share spaces with vulnerable populations including patients seeking medical care in essential medical settings and in congregate senior living facilities.”

Polis said in his letter that many major hospitals and facilities already require their staff to get the vaccine, including UCHealth, Banner Health, Denver Health, Children's Hospital Colorado, SCL Health, Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center, National Jewish, Boulder Community Hospital and Kaiser Permanente.

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The State Board of Health can only mandate vaccines at health-care facilities that are listed under this state statute. CDPHE said the board doesn't have authority over individual health-care practitioners or staff, primary care officers and urgent care locations.

About 30% of those who work in potentially affected health care facilities haven't gotten the COVID-19 vaccine, CDPHE said.

Health-care facilities that such a rule change could affect include:

  • Acute treatment units
  • Ambulatory surgical centers
  • Assisted living residences
  • Behavioral health entities
  • Birth centers
  • Community clinics
  • Community clinics with emergency centers
  • Community integrated health care services agencies
  • Community mental health centers
  • Dialysis treatment clinics
  • Freestanding emergency departments
  • Home care agencies
  • Home care placement agencies
  • Hospices
  • Hospitals (general, rehabilitation, psychiatric and hospital units)
  • Facilities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (group homes and intermediate care facilities)
  • Nursing homes

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