Letter: Leaders must go further than vaccine mandates | Letters

Letter: Leaders must go further than vaccine mandates | Letters

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and President Biden are taking the right and necessary action in requiring nursing home staff be vaccinated against Covid 19 – but it’s not quite enough. While 85% of longterm care facility (LTC) residents have taken the vaccine to protect themselves only about 60% of staff has done the same.

In some areas of Western New York, the number of vaccinated nursing and LTC facilities staff members is even lower. Our goal must be 100% vaccination for all staff of nursing homes with no exceptions, no negative test option, no shaming or name calling. If our common goal is to protect our vulnerable senior women and men living in longterm care facilities our government leaders must partner with facility owners, operators and employee representatives.

Vaccine mandates for health care workers is a positive and necessary step towards protection for our senior residents, but only part of the solution. The aids and nurses providing the most intimate care to our senior residents are essential caregivers who our seniors and their families count on all day/every day and yet they are the least compensated.

Facility owners along with legislators must work together – increase reimbursements, tax incentives, grants, increased profit sharing – to keep these valuable employees from finding other work when faced with vaccine mandates. Recently, it has been announced that the federal government will release another $60 billion in grants to help support the restaurant industry as they try to get their footing post pandemic.

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