All Genesis Healthcare workers must be vaccinated to keep their jobs (Picture: PA)
As many hospitals are requiring workers to get coronavirus vaccines, a major nursing home system is also applying pressure to its workers, telling them to either get vaccinated or face being fired.
Genesis Healthcare, one of the nation’s largest owners of privatized nursing homes, wants its workers to be vaccinated – even if it means a potential exodus at its already understaffed facilities.
About 40% of workers at Genesis Healthcare, which has 400 locations and 70,000 employees, are resisting getting their Covid-19 shots. The company argues that puts the lives of the elderly they serve at risk.
Genesis Healthcare’s new directive comes as Massachusetts, which has been devastated by the rise in Delta variant cases, mandated a statewide requirement for all nursing home employees to be vaccinated with at least one dose by September 1. The requirement, which applies not only to Genesis employees, is expected to be enforced by October 10, according to The Hill.
Denver has mandated that nursing home employees be vaccinated, NBC 9 reported.
In the week ending on July 25, more than 1,250 nursing homes across the US had infected patients, 202 of whom succumbed to the virus, federal data shows.
‘It’s so easy now to say, “Well, Genesis is doing it. Now we’ll do it,”’ said Brian Lee, the executive director of Families for Better Care, a leading advocate for long-term care of residents. ‘This is a big domino to fall.’
Lawrence Gostin, a law professor who specializes in public health law at Georgetown University, said he sees these vaccine mandates as a ‘snowball effect’ and that resisting vaccination mandates at this point is ‘unconscionable’.
Nursing home deaths linked to the coronavirus made headlines earlier this year when New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration was accused of deliberately covering up the number of deaths at elderly facilities in the state.
Cuomo, who is embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal, allegedly withheld the state’s nursing home Covid-10 death toll figures at the height of the pandemic.
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