man rolling up sleeve, nurse preparing shot

As cases of the COVID-19 delta variant continue to spike across the nation, pressure is mounting on the home healthcare and home care industry to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for staff.  

The National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) and the Home Care Association of America (HCAOA) have yet to join dozens of medical and senior service organizations calling for a COVID-19 vaccine mandate of staff. But, NAHC President William Dombi said members must address low vaccination rates among workers in the industry.

“If we have one discipline of care that we really need to address it is that less than 50% of home care aides across the country are vaccinated,” Dombi told members at the association’s annual Financial Management Conference in Chicago on Sunday night.

Dombi said home care workers who remain unvaccinated reflect the overall unvaccinated population: older workers who tend to be less educated.

“They are 50 to 60 years of age and they are the ones who have the most contact with patients. Their low (vaccination) rates are raising concerns,” Dombi said.

On Monday, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) joined approximately 70 industry groups, including the American Medical Association and LeadingAge, in calling on employers to mandate vaccinations.

“As nurse practitioners (NPs), we are deeply respectful of the trust patients put in us to provide the very best advice and care — and NPs will continue to deliver that care each and every day,” AANP President April Kapu said. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports a little more than 60% of Americans over the age of 18 are now fully vaccinated.