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The Statehouse News Bureau provides educational, comprehensive coverage of legislation, elections, issues and other activities surrounding the Statehouse to Ohio's public radio and television stations.

Nearly half of Ohio's nursing home workers remain unvaccinated for COVID

[Kiselev Andrey Valerevich / Shutterstock]
An empty wheelchair in an empty hallway

The Ohio Health Care Association reports just over 55% of workers in the nursing homes it represents are vaccinated against COVID-19, despite efforts to educate and encourage workers to get the shots. Now, the Biden administration is going to require all nursing home workers that receive federal funds to get vaccinated by January 4th.

The association’s Pete Van Runkle fears nursing home workers who haven’t gotten COVID shots might quit already short-staffed facilities doing necessary work.

“Long term care providers are completely strapped for staff but they are not in a position where they can say it will take an hour to get your pizza or we are going to close down the dining room or we are not going to have certain things on the shelves,” Van Runkle says.

Van Runkle says he personally thinks some workers might relent, but it’s unclear how many. The number who choose to quit could have a substantial impact, though nationwide the vast majority of workers under vaccine mandates have complied. Roughly 5,000 Ohioans per day are getting COVID vaccines right now.

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