All Nursing Home Staff Will Be Required To Be Vaccinated

President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday that the Department of Health and Human Services would be drafting new regulations for all nursing home staff in the United States to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The President also said that the government would withhold Medicare and Medicaid funding for facilities that don’t adhere to the requirement.

“More than 130,000 residents of nursing homes have sadly, sadly, over the period of the virus, passed away. At the same time, vaccination rates among nursing home staff significantly trail the rest of the country,” President Biden said. “With the announcement, I’m using the power of the federal government as a player of health care costs to make sure we reduce those risks to our most vulnerable seniors. These steps are all about keeping people safe and out of harm’s way.”

Health officials working in long-term care facilities and nursing homes are not fond of the government’s plan. Mark Parkinson, an influential figure in healthcare and the President and CEO of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, believes that the President should require all healthcare workers to be vaccinated.

“We appreciate the Administration’s efforts to increase COVID-19 vaccinations in long-term care. Unfortunately, this action does not go far enough,” he said.

“Focusing only on nursing homes will cause vaccine-hesitant workers to flee to other health care providers and leave many centers without adequate stand to care for residents,” Parkinson said.

“The government should not single out one provider group for mandatory vaccinations. Vaccination mandates for health care personnel should be applied to all health care settings. Without this, nursing homes face a disastrous workforce challenge.”

California and New York have already begun requiring healthcare workers to be vaccinated.

According to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), only 60% of staff in nursing homes and long-term care centers nationwide are fully or partially vaccinated.

Data from CMS also reveals that 133,000 residents and 2,000 staff members in facilities across the nation have died from COVID-19. The number may be less or more — CMS started collecting data on nursing homes and long-term care facilities in May 2020.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report on Wednesday that showed vaccine effectiveness declining because of the rise in new variants.

The United States has reported the highest number of COVID-19 deaths — 623,000 people have died since the beginning of the global pandemic.

 

About RavenH

Raven Haywood is a journalist for 10+ years. Graduate from Howard University.

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