Shortage of workers prevents vaccine introduction in nursing homes

Several health systems and hospitals in Maine require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but staff shortages in many nursing homes could prevent them from following suit.

The Bangor Daily News reports that more than 40 nursing homes want to require staff vaccinations, but a long-standing shortage is forcing them to be wary of compliance, according to a poll by the Maine Association of Medical Directors.

Maine has done pretty well in vaccinating nursing home staff, and the rate is now 71%. This is much more than the national average (59%).

However, rates in nursing homes are not the same, and the conflict between staff shortages and vaccine requirements can make it difficult to achieve 100%.

Last week, Northern Light Health and MaineHealth announced vaccine requirements for employees. The requirement applies to facilities including East Maine Medical Center, Mercy Hospital and Maine Medical Center.

Dr. Jabbar Fazeli, who heads the Maine Association of Medical Directors, said the results of a survey of nursing homes indicate a desire to introduce mandatory vaccines in institutions.

“It is obvious that administrators see this as a way out of the crisis, but are struggling with this solution,” he said.

Staff shortages in nursing homes have long been a problem in Maine, and low wages make it difficult to fill vacancies. According to the state, in 2020, nurse aides earned $ 15.71 an hour per hour, which is comparable to the salaries of retail workers.

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