In this March 2, 2021, file photo, a pharmacy technician loads a syringe with Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine at a mass vaccination site at the Portland Expo. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

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In the Jan. 14 BDN, Sheldon Jacobson makes the case that politicians should not tell hospitals to defer postponable, so-called elective surgeries (such as for breast or prostate cancer, and some heart conditions) in favor of admitting people with COVID-19 (most of them unvaccinated). Why should people who chose to expose themselves and others to the risk of COVID be given priority over vaccinated people with other life-threatening conditions?

I would take the argument a step further. I think hospitals should be allowed to refuse admission to anyone confirmed to have COVID, if that person has not previously been fully vaccinated against COVID (exceptions would be made for emergency surgery). Hospital workers have been required to be vaccinated against COVID in order to protect other hospital staff and patients. Likewise, hospitals should be allowed to require that, in order to be admitted, patients have prior vaccinations against COVID.

Allowing hospitals to refuse admission to unvaccinated COVID patients could reduce the problem of staff shortages due to COVID infections, and reduce the risk of non-COVID patients getting COVID while in the hospital. Patients who get COVID despite being vaccinated should still be admitted: They have done what they were asked to do to protect themselves and others.

Bill Farthing