In late January 2021, Advisory Board initially published this guide for long-term care facility leaders to navigate hesitancy as the vaccine began its rollout to patients and personnel. At the time, the United States was amid its third—and most deadly—wave of Covid-19 yet. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine had not been approved for emergency use, and the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were only beginning to be offered to long-term care facilities.
Over half a year later there have been numerous positive changes. 81% of the population, 65 years or older have been fully vaccinated, with 52% of the overall population vaccinated as well. Booster shots are under consideration. And most importantly, the Pfizer vaccine has been fully approved by the FDA.
However, Covid-19 has not been eradicated and we now stand at one of the most pivotal points in the pandemic. America is now amid a fourth wave of Covid-19, fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant, and vaccination rates have slowed across the country. Individuals who remain unvaccinated are largely no longer hesitant– they have made an active choice to avoid getting vaccinated.
Now, the Biden Administration has mandated that all health care personnel, including long-term care staff, get vaccinated or respective facilities will risk losing Medicaid and Medicare funding. Nationwide, many staff are still unsure of the vaccine and are hesitant to take it, but their options have changed. Leaders must now redouble their efforts to educate and persuade staff to get vaccinated to protect residents and staff, but also to protect the organization’s funding.
Use this guide to help you address staff members’ concerns, incentivize and assist staff to get vaccinated, and tactics to handle conversations ahead of the mandate deadline.