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Hospitals coast to coast are demanding their employees get vaccinated against COVID-19 as the highly contagious delta variant tears through populations with low vaccination rates.

Nearly 1,500 hospitals — roughly a quarter of all hospitals in the U.S. —now require staffers to get a COVID-19 vaccine, said Colin Milligan, a spokesperson for the American Hospital Association. More follow suit every day as hospital leaders aim to head off staff shortages like those experienced last year and to keep employees from becoming vectors of the disease.

But that’s not an option in Montana, where a law passed this year amid a pandemic backlash prohibits employers, including most health care facilities, from mandating any vaccine for their staffs. Nor is it in Oregon, where a 32-year-old law similarly bans vaccine mandates for health workers.

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