Baker expands vaccine mandates
Includes all long-term-care workers and home health aides
LESS THAN A MONTH after Gov. Charlie Baker announced a COVID vaccine mandate for all nursing home workers, the administration expanded the order to include home health aides and other long-term care employees.
The Executive Office of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday that all staff at rest homes, assisted living residences, and hospice programs, as well as health care workers who care for patients in their homes, will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 31.
Earlier in the pandemic, Baker had strongly resisted imposing any kind of vaccine mandate. But as COVID-19 continues to spread and one vaccine has gotten full FDA approval, the governor shifted his position. In early August, he said all nursing homes workers must be vaccinated as a condition of employment. In mid-August, the federal government imposed its own vaccine mandate on nursing home employees. The goal was to protect nursing home patients, who are generally elderly and have numerous health conditions, making them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.Baker’s latest proposal, which must still be approved by the state’s Public Health Council, would expand the vaccine mandate to cover staff and contractors working in Massachusetts’ 62 rest homes, 268 assisted living residences, and 85 hospice programs.
There would be exemptions available for individuals with a medical condition that prevents them from getting vaccinated or a sincerely held religious belief against vaccination.