While many residents have been vaccinated, the rate among staff is still below 60% nationally according to the AARP.
That’s why the North Carolina Health Care Facilities Association now supports policies that would require the vaccination of nursing home workers.
Low vaccination rates among nursing home workers cause a North Carolina man whose 94-year-old mother is in a Wake County facility to scratch his head.
âWhen it comes to health care providers, these are the people we have entrusted with the safety of our loved ones. And so I would definitely wonder why they wouldn’t want to be vaccinated,â Phil Wells told ABC11.
Wells’ mother Rosalee lives in a long-term care facility in Wake Forest who, surprisingly, has had no cases of COVID-19.
And while he’s grateful, that doesn’t mean he isn’t worried now about the current increase in cases.
âThere’s always that worry, and still that thought in the back of your mind, ‘Is there anyone she’ll come into contact with who hasn’t been vaccinated, who might be going through the Delta variant? And so it’s scary, âWells said. .
ABC News reports that the AARP estimates that 78% of long-term care residents are fully immunized.
The pension organization estimates that only 56.7% of staff are fully vaccinated.
Medicare data shows that only 53% of nursing home staff in North Carolina are vaccinated.
Which ranks 39th out of 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico and Washington DC
COMPLETE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE
âWe need to go further and faster in increasing our immunization rates,â said Adam Sholar, CEO of the North Carolina Health Care Facilities Association.
Last week, he wrote a letter in support of the vaccine requirements for nursing home workers.
He knows that in an industry that is already understaffed, telling workers they need to get vaccinated can mean losing employees who cannot be replaced.
But he felt it was important to support employers by saying, âWhat we as an organization wanted to convey in this message is, you know, each member institution has to decide what to do with it. agrees, but this growing notion of making vaccination a condition of employment for members who felt able to implement this, we supported. “
There is good news locally.
Durham and Wake counties both have higher state and nationwide average immunization rates for nursing home workers, at 69.2% and 60.1% respectively, according to Medicare data.
Sadly, Cumberland County is below both State and Nation at just 49.3%.
Phil Wells, whose mother was vaccinated, says he is grateful for the work nursing home workers have done during the pandemic to protect her and thousands of others like her.
But he admits he can’t help but be selfish by saying, “I wish everyone she comes in contact with would be vaccinated.”
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