By Richard L. Hackman, Esq. and Collin T. Keyser, Esq., Saxton & Stump Lawyers and Consultants
With the imminent possibility of a COVID-19 vaccine, long-term care facilities must be prepared for staff questions and concerns related to immunization for the virus. A recent Gallup survey indicated that approximately 42% of Americans would decline an approved COVID-19 vaccination. Reasons for declining included: the rushed timeline for development of the vaccine;
the desire to wait to confirm the vaccine is safe; no trust in vaccines in general; and the desire to wait to determine the effectiveness of the vaccine.
These same concerns as voiced by the general populace most certainly will arise with facility staff, which will require an employer to engage in a balancing act between employee relations with staff who have concerns about the vaccine and the facility’s obligation to protect its patients, residents and other staff from the potential hazards associated with COVID-19 through a mandatory immunization policy. Facilities will also need to be prepared for potential conflicts with staff who do obtain the vaccine versus those who may decline to do so.
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