Nursing home staff in New York will have to sign a contract stating they refuse the coronavirus vaccine if they want to continue working under new rules, as its revealed only half of employees are vaccinated.
The New York Department of Health is urging all homes to offer ‘an opportunity to receive the jab to all consenting residents and staff’ before the end of April.
‘They’re trying to get people vaccinated and they’re trying to incentivize it,’ said Michael Balboni, the Executive Director of Greater New York Health Care Facilities Association to the
Across New York State, less than two-thirds of workers in nursing home facilities have received the shot since December. Within New York City’s five boroughs, only 56 percent of staff have had the jab.
It’s not clear why so few healthcare workers in the city have had the vaccine given how badly affected nursing homes were during the early stages of the pandemic. Some healthcare workers are said to be refusing because they are ‘afraid’ to take it.
Those workers and residents who decide not to receive the injection will have to sign paperwork stating that they are declining receiving the vaccine. Facilities that don’t comply could be hit with a $2,000 fine per violation.
Those living and working in New York’s state nursing homes will be offered the COVID vaccine after it was revealed only 56 percent of staff in NYC have had it
Some healthcare workers are refusing to take the vaccine because they are ‘afraid to take it’. Anyone refusing from now on will need to sign papers acknowledging they have opt out. Pictured, Gerard Diebner administers the COVID-19 vaccine to a nursing home resident at Harlem Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, a nursing home facility, in Harlem
Meanwhile, 80 percent of nursing home residents in the state have been vaccinated while 73 percent in the city have received the injection.
‘The residents aren’t the problem, it’s really the low vaccination rates with the staff,’ Balboni said.
‘There are healthcare workers who are afraid to take the vaccine, period. How do you convince them that this is in the best interest for themselves and their families? It’s something that everybody is still trying to figure out.’
A spokesperson from the Department of Health has said that ’emergency’ regulations are now required in order to make sure that no vaccines are not going to waste.
‘Nursing home operators have known all along that a COVID vaccine is one of the best ways to protect residents and staff from this dangerous virus.
Thelma Manner, left, and her table mate Marilyn Schoenberger, right, talk during dinner at RiverWalk, an independent senior housing facility, in New York, Thursday, April 1, 2021. Since the start of the pandemic, residents had been dining in their rooms. Only recently have they began to use the dining hall again, although they still maintain social distance
‘Inexplicably, numerous nursing homes are letting vaccine doses sit on shelves, and that’s why DOH recently enacted emergency regulations requiring nursing homes to offer all consenting, unvaccinated, existing and new personnel and residents an opportunity to get vaccinated.’
A 14 day rule is to be introduced for those who begin working in a new job in nursing homes they are to be offered the opportunity to be inoculated.
A source told the Post that part of the problem is that many of the nursing facilities are having difficulty getting hold of the vaccine making a two-week enforcement rule hard to stick to.
‘It’s just another example of the state going off on its own without talking to anyone who runs a nursing home,’ the source said.
‘There’s just a whole lack of communication, this whole thing, why would you roll this out and never talk to the nursing homes?’ they said.
More than half the population of U.S. has now received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine