Nursing home residents are at substantial risk of death from COVID. The industry and the caregivers have a duty to protect residents. However, nursing home staff continue to refuse to get the vaccine. Even though workers at nursing homes and assisted-living facilities were among the first people offered vaccinations, many still refuse to take them.
This allows the virus to mutate and survive. Unvaccinated staff are allowed to come and go as they please while residents remain in lockdown. How is this fair? The nursing home industry needs to require vaccination as a condition of employment.
The federal government — the nation’s largest employer — will require unvaccinated employees to wear masks while working, get regular testing and take other precautions, like maintaining physical distance from co-workers and restricting work travel.
Since the pandemic began, close to 10,000 nursing home residents in Texas died from COVID-19. As of Aug. 11, that’s 17% of the state’s COVID-19 deaths. More than 400 Texas nursing home residents died during a single week in August 2020. From July 21 to Aug. 11, 84 nursing home residents died from COVID-19, compared to seven deaths during the four-week period before.
Now, the number of nursing homes across the state with at least one active COVID-19 case has shot up nearly 800% in the past month — while nearly half of nursing home employees in Texas remain unvaccinated. Texas is 33rd nationally for nursing home staff vaccination rates.
Republican Governor Greg Abbott tested positive for coronavirus after banning safety masks and vaccination requirements to protect Texans.
Florida ranks worst in the nation for COVID-19 infections among nursing home staff. The percentage of new resident cases increased from June 20 to July 18, to 12.6%, according to AARP. The national average is 4.4%.
Florida also has the second-worst vaccination rate among nursing home staff. Only 47% of Florida’s nursing home staff are vaccinated.
AARP Florida State Director Jeff Johnson said:
“We saw this coming when it became clear that Florida trailed the nation in vaccinations of health-care workers. Unvaccinated staff members living in communities with rising coronavirus cases make it inevitable that our nursing home residents will suffer.”
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is trying to block local school districts from requiring masks in the classroom. Despite all the research showing that mask-wearing is effective at protecting children from Covid-19 and preventing transmission in schools.