Pa. prioritizes vaccinations for nursing home staff, sets Oct. 1 deadline

Written by on August 13, 2021

 Pa. prioritizes vaccinations for nursing home staff, sets Oct. 1 deadline

By Madison Goldberg / WITF

August 13, 2021

Photo by Matthias Zomer from Pexels

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The state Department of Health wants all nursing homes to have 80% of their workers vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 1

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The ones that don’t will have to test their unvaccinated staff more frequently than they do now.

The department says nursing homes that meet the 80% target will get help from a federal grant to support regular testing. The ones that fall short will not.

Health Department spokesperson Keara Klinepeter noted rising coronavirus cases in the state.

“The Department of Health is firmly committed to preventing outbreaks by stopping COVID-19 from entering nursing homes in the first place,” she said. “We know that one of the best ways we can do this is by vaccinating staff in these homes.” 

The department says so far, only 12.5% of nursing homes in Pennsylvania have reached the 80 percent vaccination mark among staff.

The Pennsylvania Healthcare Association, an advocacy group for long-term care facilities, issued a statement Thursday saying it opposes the move.

The PHA called it a “punitive mandate” issued without input from industry representatives.

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