New study finds Indiana nursing home workers trailing behind vaccination goals

Coronavirus

FRANKLIN, Ind.– Vaccination rates among nursing home workers continue to lag nationwide, according to a new study from the AARP.

The study found less than 50% of Hoosier health care staff are fully vaccinated.

“Don’t wait for the numbers to peak and then do something,” said Terri King.

Her 86-year-old mother, Josephine, is in a long-term health care facility.

She said she’s afraid for her mother’s health because nursing home workers aren’t required to be vaccinated. 

“All nursing facilities should have never been put on 100 percent withdrawal from the mandate,” King.

The study lists four out of five nursing homes in the United States are behind on staff vaccination goals. 

One of the country’s largest nursing home trade groups, LeadingAge, says the goal is 75%.

As of June 20, only 47.9% of Hoosier health care staff were fully vaccinated. 

“There are a lot of younger folks working in senior living in the non-resident facing positions,” said Eric Essley, President and CEO of LeadingAge Indiana. “Those folks don’t see themselves vulnerable to COVID.”

“We’re running about 65% and we’re not happy with that,” said Gary Horning with Otterbein Senior Life.

Staff members there are not required to be vaccinated. Unvaccinated workers are tested at the start of each work shift.

“The new variant is concern so we take a significant amount of concern about vaccinations to drive more of our residents and partners to be vaccinated,” Horning said.

Still, families of loved ones are concerned if staff members don’t get vaccinated.

“My biggest concern is that she’s not going to get the proper care she needs,” King said.

We reached out to the Indiana State Health Department to confirm the numbers reported by the AARP. We are still waiting for a response and to learn if that department will speak about the trend.

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