It’s been nine months since the COVID-19 vaccine has been administered to the U.S., and the race to having almost the entire country vaccinated continues.
According to the Associated Press, President Joe Biden’s requiring all nursing homes in the U.S. to have staff members completely vaccinated against the supposed silent killer.
Pennsylvania’s assisted living, and personal care facilities that are regulated by the Department of Human Services are seeing some breakthrough cases among unvaccinated residents and staff.
“But staffing is getting hard to encourage them to do the vaccine,” said Margie Zelenak, executive director Pennsylvania’s Assisted Living Association. “So many of our members have taken the steps to mandate that.”
Zelenak says with the staffing crisis, mandating the vaccine can lead to more challenges.
“If it’s a state of federal mandate, are we going to lose staff?” Zelenak said. “We’re going to keep that in the hands of the communities to decide whether they want to mandate the vaccine.”
At Pleasant Ridge Manor, they believe in encouraging their staff to stay safe because keeping all staff and residents safe is their top priority.
“We are not currently considering mandating vaccinations,” said Marybeth Pfister, director of social services at Pleasant Ridge Manor. “But we’re strongly encouraging it all the time.”
Both facilities said they’ve continued to require staff, residents, and visitors to wear a mask. Meanwhile, visitation is opened but limited.
Rolling Fields Nursing Home in Crawford County is mandating that all of their employees be vaccinated.
According to the Associated Press, the new mandate by President Biden will go into effect as early as next month.
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