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Battling misinformation, nursing homes weigh whether to require vaccination for staff

Nursing homes have been among the many hardest hit services in 2020, in the course of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. A year later, 1000’s of nursing house staff have determined not to be vaccinated.

About 62% of nursing house staff have been vaccinated, in accordance to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That determine will not be ok, mentioned Mark Parkinson, CEO of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living.

“We’ve got to increase that number,” he informed CBSN. 

Parkinson mentioned 80% of nursing house residents are vaccinated, however lots of the staff who serve them have been hesitant to do the identical. Reasons for opting out vary from conspiracy theories that the federal government is utilizing the vaccine to implant a monitoring chip below their pores and skin to misinformed considerations about how the vaccine will affect their skill to get pregnant, Parkinson mentioned.

Parkinson mentioned nursing house workers need assistance realizing that such fears are unsubstantiated.

“The reason for the lack of vaccination among some staff is just an incredible amount of misinformation,” Parkinson informed CBS MoneyWatch. “The antivaxxers are really good at creating internet sites and misinformation that scare the heck out of people.”

Last year, in the course of the first few months of the pandemic, long-term care services skilled a excessive loss of life rate partly as a result of lots of the aged residents had weak immune techniques. Months later, staffers mentioned that they had issue getting N95 masks, hand sanitizer and different personal protecting gear. By December, greater than 3,000 nursing homes — roughly a fifth of the nation’s whole services — have been understaffed. 

Nursing homes in dire want of COVID vaccine

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Long-term care services skilled shortages of nursing aides, docs and different care staff with direct affected person contact at a time when all their providers have been wanted most, in accordance to a 2021 report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group

The ranks of vaccinated nursing house staff are actually beginning to rise, Parkinson mentioned. That’s partly as a result of bigger long-term care services — together with Good Samaritan Society and Genesis HealthCare — are mandating vaccines for all workers. Other corporations are hesitant to require vaccines as a result of they concern staff, already in brief provide, will resign, Parkinson mentioned.

States like California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland and New Jersey are additionally requiring that sure nursing house staff be vaccinated, Parkinson mentioned. 

As extra states and employers require the vaccine, Parkinson mentioned he hopes the business will enhance the CDC’s 62% determine to no less than 75%.

“Twenty-five percent of the facilities have already hit it, but we still have a long way to go,” he mentioned.