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Five States Now Require COVID-19 Boosters for Nursing Home Staff

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Amid the latest wave of COVID-19, Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut became the last states this week to require healthcare workers, including nursing home staff, to be vaccinated.

They join California and New Mexico, bringing the total number to five so far.

Massachusetts elderly healthcare workers must receive their booster injection by February 28, according to an emergency order issued by Gov. Charlie Baker.

The order is part of other measures to reduce a bottleneck in public hospitals – patients in need of post-acute care or a long-term care bed had to wait weeks for available places , facilities freezing admissions amid omicron outbreaks and a staff shortage, according to a report by the Boston Globe on Friday night.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul at a press conference described the state’s recall mandate for healthcare workers – staff will have two weeks to be reinforced once eligible, media reported local. The warrant does not include a testing option, but leaves space for medical exemptions.

State Planning and Public Health Council must approve requirement before it goes into effect, local CNY Central outlet reported. Governor Hochul told the press conference that she was “confident” that the order would be approved.

Meanwhile, in Connecticut, operators must reinforce their staff by February 11, according to a declaration issued by the office of Governor Ned Lamont, or face a civil fine of $ 20,000 per day. Lamont appears to be the only state governor at the moment to tie monetary penalties to recall non-compliance.

The terms of reference specify that long-term care facilities include nursing homes, residential care homes, developmental intermediate care facilities, managed residential communities, chronic disease hospitals, and development agencies. assisted living services.

“We know for a fact that the initial vaccinations dramatically and immediately reduced the rate of hospitalizations and deaths that occurred in these establishments,” Governor Lamont said in a statement. “Now we have to fight the impacts of diminishing immunity, and that is why all who are capable of it should be reminded.”

Another decree issued on the same day also applies this requirement to public hospitals.

New Mexico and California issued similar orders late last year, with deadlines Jan. 17 and Feb. 1, respectively, or as soon as they became eligible.

Eligibility for the booster was update January 4 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), five months after the first round of vaccination for the Pfizer vaccine – the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) make the same call for the Moderna vaccine on January 7.

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham was the first to issue the recall order on December 2, citing concerns expressed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international governments over the variant. omicron. All hospital workers, workers in collective care facilities and employees of the governor’s office should be given the reminder, unless they are eligible for an exemption, the order States.

The state’s recall requirement applies to workers in “high-risk environments,” including staff in all health and collective care settings. Public school and state employees are required to test for the virus weekly if they are not vaccinated.

Governor of California Gavin Newsom announcement the new state requirement on December 22.

California was a leader among states by requiring the vaccination of all health care workers in August. The state aims to administer the booster to approximately 2 million healthcare workers and nursing home staff.

Stimulus rates for nursing home staff are only 27.6%, well below the national average of 35%, said Dr Janell Routh of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during ” a call to nursing home responders on January 6. Resident recall efforts have fared better, Routh added during Thursday’s appeal, noting that the statistic rose to 62%.

The CDC reports more than 490,000 cases on average each day, a 98% increase from last week, added Dr. Lauri Hicks, medical epidemiologist with the CDC’s Respiratory Disease Branch, during the appeal. Omicron is responsible for about 93% to 97% of all new cases across the country, according to Hicks.

“The extremely rapid spread of omicron underscores the fact that booster vaccinations are absolutely essential to protect our dedicated long-term care staff and, by extension, the most vulnerable Connecticut residents in skilled nursing and other facilities. long-term care facilities, “Connecticut Social Services Commissioner Dr. Deidre Gifford, whose agency administers Medicaid in the state, said in a statement.

Connecticut’s recall orders are similar to state employee immunization requirements – initial doses had a September 27 deadline.

At the federal level, the recalls were neither included in the mandate of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) nor in the vaccination or testing requirement issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), despite the current increase in cases.

Arguments over the constitutionality of federal vaccine mandates were heard in the Supreme Court on Friday, after government agencies appealed lower court rulings to issue injunctions temporarily blocking CMS’s mandate in half of the country .

SCOTUS is not yet determining whether the vaccine’s mandate is constitutional, instead it could decide whether either mandate should remain in place while cases unfold in court.