RI well being care teams worry the worst as McKee stands by vaccine mandate

FILE – In this July 22, 2021 file photo, a health care worker at the American Museum of Natural History in New York fills a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Most Americans who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 say they are unlikely to get the syringes and doubt they would work against the aggressive Delta variant despite evidence, according to a new survey that highlights the challenges Underlines public health officials are facing infections in some states amid the recovery. (AP Photo / Mary Altaffer)

PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) ─ Rhode Island health care workers now have one month to get vaccinated under the recent mandate from Governor Dan McKee.

But as the October 1 deadline draws closer, health organizations fear the request will lead to a spate of layoffs.

The RI Home Care Partnership released a statement Tuesday urging the RI Department of Health to remove home care workers from the mandate.

“Unlike facility-based healthcare facilities like hospitals and nursing homes, home care providers cannot control the care environment of their patients and customers,” said Nicholas Oliver, executive director of RI Partnership for Home Care. “Patients and home care clients have the right to be unvaccinated To allow people to live and visit their homes. “

“These home environments are at greater risk of exposure to breakthrough COVID-19 variants than healthcare workers who have properly masked and worn personal protective equipment in the past 18 months,” he continued.

Oliver said current projections indicate that more than 1,000 patients will be in home care by the vaccination appointment with no continuity of care.

RI Partnership for Home Care’s president of the board of directors Michael Bigney said while they support anyone who gets vaccinated against COVID-19, they understand that the decision to do so should remain in the hands of their employees.

“We are losing excellent direct care staff who have been on the front lines during this pandemic,” Bigney said. “I hope every displaced patient and client will call Governor McKee to tell him that this mandate is wrong.”

John Gage, President of the RI Health Care Association, agrees that McKee needs to provide solutions. He said his organization represents 80% of the state’s care facilities and the mandate affects more than 400 unvaccinated workers under his umbrella.

“We have been strong for the vaccine and are staying, but I think the governor may need to reconsider the deadline and possibly look at some goals,” Gage said. “Someone has to give. We are already in unprecedented times. “

McKee believes that with the full state approval of the Pfizer vaccine with two doses, more people will choose to vaccinate. During his weekly media briefing on Tuesday, he said he had no plans to change his stance on the vaccination mandate for health workers.

“They know that the safer the people they serve, the safer they are,” McKee said. “We are not deviating from this at the moment.”

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