COVID vaccine in hands of caregiver

More than half of American workers favor COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the workplace, according to a new Associated Press-NORC poll. The findings come as the federal government, states and private employers are requiring workers to get shots or lose their jobs.

The poll found nearly 60% of remote workers favor vaccine requirements in their own workplaces. That compares to 47% of those who are working in person. The sentiment is similar with mask mandates, with 59% of remote workers favoring them and 50% of in-person workers favoring masks.

Vaccine mandates have become a contentious issue in the home care and home healthcare sector. While the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization has called for home care, home healthcare and hospice providers to require staff vaccinations, the National Association for Home Care and Hospice and the Home Care Association of America have been reluctant to do so. Still, some state associations have been weighing in on the issue and some providers are finding themselves caught in the crossfire of lawsuits.

On Thursday, The Home Care Association of New York took aim at a new emergency regulation adopted by the New York State Health Department requiring all home health care workers to get their first vaccinations by October 7. HCA President Al Cordillo told McKnight’s Home Care Daily the action is giving his industry “minimal time to respond” to the new edict.

Meanwhile, an evangelical Christian nonprofit filed a lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court in Maine on behalf of 2,000 healthcare workers challenging a recent vaccine mandate Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced two weeks ago for healthcare workers in her state. That mandate requires healthcare workers, including those in home healthcare, be fully vaccinated by Oct. 1. The lawsuit filed by Liberty Counsel charges the governor, two Maine health agencies and five large hospital systems of violating federal law by not recognizing and accommodating religious exemptions for workers who don’t want the vaccine.

Maine, New York, California, New Jersey, Oregon and the District of Columbia all have vaccine mandates in place that extend to home healthcare workers. Several other states have mandates in place that affect workers in hospitals, doctors’ offices and long-term care settings, but not home healthcare.