As the number of COVID-19 cases spikes in nearly every state, National Association for Home Care and Hospice President William Dombi told McKnight’s Home Care Daily vaccine hesitancy remains a challenge in the caregiving workforce.

“Hesitancy is absolutely still a problem, and it’s not just with the home care aide workforce, although that is where it is most dominantly a problem, but it even goes to nurses and therapists,” Dombi told McKnight’s Home Care Daily during a podcast.

Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a dramatic increase in the number of coronavirus cases compared to the first week of July. The more contagious Delta variant now makes up nearly 85% of new cases.

Mississippi’s top public health official said that state is being overwhelmed by a fourth wave of the virus. More than 2,300 new cases were confirmed between last Friday and Sunday, making that the largest three-day increase in COVID-19 cases since February.

In Texas, another COVID-19 hotspot, Houston Methodist Hospital reported a 70% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations over the past week. The hospital reported a large number of Delta variant cases, including its first reported case of the Lambda variant.

To increase the vaccination rate, Dombi called for peer-to-peer education. He also noted that market forces could soon play a role. He said some patients are asking agencies not to send unvaccinated workers.

“That could end up forcing individuals to think more sensibly about vaccines,” Dombi said.