- Advertisement -spot_img
Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Some health workers face Thursday deadline to get vaccinated

By David A. Lieb and Heather Hollingsworth | Associated Press

Health care workers in about half the states face a Thursday deadline to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine under a Biden administration mandate that will be rolled out across the rest of the country in the coming weeks.

While the requirement is welcomed by some, others fear it will worsen already serious staff shortages if employees quit rather than comply.

“We would like to see staff vaccinated. We think that it’s the safest option for residents, which is our biggest concern,” said Marjorie Moore, executive director of VOYCE, a St. Louis County, Missouri, nonprofit that works on behalf of nursing home residents. “But not having staff is also a really big concern, because the neglect that happens as a result of that is severe and very scary.”

The mandate affects a wide swath of the health care industry, covering doctors, nurses, technicians, aides and even volunteers at hospitals, nursing homes, home-health agencies and other providers that participate in the federal Medicare or Medicaid programs.

It comes as many places are stretched thin by the omicron surge, which is putting record numbers of people in the hospital with COVID-19 while sickening many health workers.

Nationwide, about 81% of nursing home staff members were already fully vaccinated as of earlier this month, ranging from a high of 98% in Rhode Island to a low of 67% in Missouri, according to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The data is unclear about the vaccination levels in hospitals and other health care sites.

The mandate ultimately will cover 10.4 million health care workers at 76,000 facilities.

It is taking effect first in jurisdictions that didn’t challenge the requirement in court. Those include some of the biggest states, with some of the largest populations of senior citizens, among them: California, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania.

Some of the states already have their own vaccine requirements for health care workers. In California, for example, they have been required to be fully vaccinated since Sept. 30 and must get a booster by Feb. 1.

The federal mandate is “better late than never,” said Sal Rosselli, president of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, which represents about 15,000 people in California. “But if it happened sooner, we wouldn’t have gone through the surge, and a lot more people would be alive today.”

The government said it will begin enforcing the first-dose vaccine requirement Feb. 14 in two dozen other states where injunctions were lifted when the US Supreme Court upheld the mandate two weeks ago. The requirement will kick in on Feb. 22 in Texas, which had filed suit separately.

In Missouri, one nursing home served notice this week that it intends to take advantage of a state rule that allows facilities to close for up to two years if they are short-staffed because of the vaccine requirement. The state health department would not identify the nursing home, saying it is still notifying families and arranging transfer plans.

“Obviously we are proponents of vaccines,” said department spokeswoman Lisa Cox. But “throughout all of this, we knew that mandated it would be a negative impact really on our health care system … just because of crippling staffing levels.”

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services ultimately could cut off funding to places that fail to comply with the mandate. But it plans to begin enforcement with encouragement rather than a heavy hand.

,

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
Latest news
Related news
- Advertisement -

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here