Massachusetts Mandates Vaccine for Nursing Home Staff, Connecticut to Follow

Mimi Nguyen Ly
By Mimi Nguyen Ly
August 5, 2021US News
Massachusetts Mandates Vaccine for Nursing Home Staff, Connecticut to Follow
A health care worker prepares a Pfizer coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination in Los Angeles, Calif., on Jan. 7, 2021. (Lucy Nicholson/File Photo/Reuters)

Massachusetts announced on Wednesday a new COVID-19 vaccine mandate for most nursing home workers. Separately, the state of Connecticut is drafting an order to the same effect.

The states’ decision come amid an increase in cases driven by the Delta variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

According to a release from the Massachusetts state government, the mandate for staff to be vaccinated is “to strengthen infection control and protect vulnerable residents.”

It applies to all staff in the state’s 378 skilled nursing facilities and two Soldiers’ Homes. The staff includes “all individuals employed directly or by contract” by the long term care providers.

Specifically, all unvaccinated workers are required to get a first dose of a two-dose vaccine by Sept. 1, and be fully vaccinated by Oct. 10.

“To ensure compliance, beginning Oct. 10, 2021, the Department of Public Health (DPH) will enforce this mandate for provider operated skilled nursing homes,” stated a release from the administration of Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican.

According to the release, 155 facilities had less than 75 percent of their staff fully vaccinated as of Aug. 2.

There will be exemptions for people with “medical restrictions or sincerely held religious beliefs that prevent them from receiving vaccination.”

Over in Connecticut, a similar mandate is currently being drafted by the state government, reported the Hartford Courant. More than 90 percent of nursing home residents in the state have been vaccinated.

Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, said at a press conference on Wednesday that the requirement is a “priority” for his administration, according to the outlet. He added that he expects the administration to issue the order within the next 24 hours.

Nationwide, about 81 percent of nursing home residents and over 58 percent of staff are fully vaccinated against the CCP virus, according to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Genesis Healthcare, the largest nursing home chain in the United States, spanning some 70,000 employees and over 350 nursing homes and communities, announced late Monday a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all nursing home staff.

A Genesis spokeswoman told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News that those who decline the vaccine can apply for a medical or religious exemption, but “if an exemption is not granted, the unvaccinated employee may be subject to termination.”

From The Epoch Times

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