As Covid infections rise, nursing homes still waiting for vaccines | ET REALITY


However, a major obstacle remains resistance to vaccination among nurses and assistants. Like many facility owners, Avalon Health Care Group, which owns or operates more than a dozen nursing homes in Western states, is not requiring staff to be vaccinated. Dr. Sabine von Preyss-Friedman, Avalon’s chief medical officer, says she tries to address the reasons with each worker and will not abandon the effort.

“We’re not going to just say, ‘Okay, let everyone get vaccinated,’ and then forget about it,” he said.

Avalon homes have used modest financial incentives to encourage staff members to get vaccinated. Some have organized contests between different units, in which the winner receives prizes such as a pizza party or a drawing for a department store gift certificate, and those efforts will resume this year.

Jim Wright, medical director of Our Lady of Hope Health Center and two other nursing homes in Richmond, Virginia, said rewards and respectful persuasion were not enough to convince employees to leave their homes. They are usually between 20 and 30 years old, he said, and are not worried about contracting Covid, which many have already overcome.

“They’re most likely not doing it to protect the residents or themselves,” he said. “I don’t know what the answer is.”

Sheena Bumpas, a nursing assistant in Duncan, Oklahoma, and vice president of the National Association of Healthcare Assistants, planned to receive the vaccine this season, but said some of her colleagues would not.

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