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Health Care

Health Care and Nursing Home Worker Unions, Working Hard to Stop Vaccine Mandates

Dr. Michelle Chester from Northwell Health prepares to administer a Pfizer coronavirus disease vaccine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y., December 14, 2020. (Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters)

Great news, America. You know who else opposes a vaccine mandate in the workplace? Health Professionals and Allied Employees, New Jersey’s largest union of health care workers. The people who are most likely to come in contact with those infected with the Delta variant don’t want to be required to get the vaccine to continue employment.

“Mandating vaccination is not, nor will it ever be, the answer,” said George Gresham, president of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, the largest health care union in the United States, which has rallied against the mandate imposed by New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.

Wait, it gets better! Workplace vaccine mandates are also opposed by SEIU 1199, which “represents the largest percentage of long term care workers in the State. Our nursing home members include certified nurses assistants, LPNs, Recreational Aides, Maintenance and Housekeepers. We also represent hundreds of Home Health Aides who also provide direct care to elderly and disabled individuals throughout the state.”

The good news is that the U.S. vaccinated a large majority of nursing home residents in the first months of the vaccination effort. The bad news is that nursing home residents are elderly and often have weaker immune systems, making them just more vulnerable to any kind of infection — and there are concerns about how long that vaccination will remain effective. And the level of vaccine reluctance among nursing home staffers is stunning: “Only 59 percent of nursing home staff are partially or fully vaccinated nationwide, and the percentages are much lower in some states.”

All across the country, we’re seeing employers implement mandatory vaccination requirements on their employees… except teachers and school employees, health care workers, and nursing home workers. Hey, why would we need to get those guys vaccinated, right?

 

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