JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Long-term care facilities and nursing home staff will soon need to be fully immunized under President Joe Biden’s announcement, but some state health officials say the mandate is a bad idea.
The Missouri Health Care Association tells lawmakers it supports vaccination, but it does not support a mandate for staff.
“The reluctance to vaccinate statewide, especially among the younger populations of our staff, is something we haven’t been able to overcome,” said Missouri Health Care Association executive director Nikki Strong.
“We do not believe that a simple warrant is the appropriate way to get a full vaccination in our facilities.”
The association represents more than 65% of the state’s 500 nursing homes. Strong told members of the House Supply Subcommittee – Health, Mental Health and Human Services on Tuesday afternoon that some staff were threatening to resign if the mandate is implemented.
“She told me, I’m going to leave,” Strong said of one employee. “I love long term care, but I’m going to leave long term care and go to another industry, a whole different industry.”
She said nursing facilities had extreme staff shortages before COVID and have worsened since the pandemic.
“We have lost a huge amount of staff due to levels of burnout, burnout, stress, anxiety or in some cases people who can stay home and earn more money by staying at home than they can at our facility, ”said Strong.