AHCA/NCAL Strongly Urges Vaccination for Long-Term Care Workers

As delta variant cases continue to pop up across the country, the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), was the latest to call for long-term care workers to get the vaccine this week.

The organization joins LeadingAge and other senior care advocates in pushing providers to adopt mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for their personnel as a condition of employment moving forward.

Federal workers will also be required to verify they’ve been vaccinated against the virus or face mandatory masking, weekly testing and other rules, the Biden administration announced Thursday, according to an Associated Press report.


“As the highly contagious Delta variant spreads, unvaccinated individuals remain at high-risk and can spread the virus to others, including vaccinated individuals,” according to a statement released by AHCA/NCAL on Thursday. “Our residents are some of the most vulnerable individuals to the consequences of contracting COVID-19.”

AHCA/NCAL represents more than 14,000 nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the country, and urges each one to protect their residents, staff and others in the community by ensuring that everyone who works in their building is vaccinated.

“The pandemic already exacerbated workforce challenges that long-term care has faced for years. Vaccine mandates may further challenge providers trying to recruit and retain a qualified workforce,” the AHCA/NCAL’s statement added. “We renew our call for state and federal governments to enact solutions to help address these long-standing workforce challenges.”


Of 616 nursing homes surveyed by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) last month, 94% said they are experiencing a staffing shortage.

AHCA reports a steady increase in vaccination rates since launching its #GetVaccinated campaign last December but admits “more needs to be done.” The vaccine protects against workers unknowingly carrying the disease to work and spreading it to others, it added.

Charlotte, N.C.-based operators Atrium Health and Novant Health announced they would be including COVID-19 vaccination as a term of employment last week.

“We view this vaccine no differently than our requirement for our teammates to get an annual flu shot, as well as be vaccinated for measles, chicken pox and other infectious diseases,” Atrium said in a statement.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reports that the national percent of vaccinated residents in nursing homes is up to 81.3% while the percent of vaccinated staff sits at 58.6%, according to data submitted as of July 18, 2021.

Louisiana and Florida rank last in terms of the percent of current staff with completed COVID-19 vaccinations, at 44% and 44.44% respectively, while California’s numbers are just below its resident vaccination rate, with 78.94% of its health care personnel vaccinated.

Meanwhile, the national rate of nursing home staff vaccination is 61.51%, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Editor’s Note: The headline has been adjusted to clarify ACHA/NCAL’s position on mandatory vaccinations for health care workers. Skilled Nursing News regrets the error.

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