Liza Berger headshot
Liza Berger

Like much of the world, I am enthralled with the Olympic Games.

Every four years (five in the case of these Summer Games, whose opening ceremonies air Friday), I sit rapt watching some of the world’s fastest, strongest and, otherwise, most athletically gifted people perform feats that I can only dream — or write — about.

As a child I mused about being in the Olympics one day (for what, I don’t know). Now I just ooh and ahh at the speed at which the swimmers race, the fearlessness of the high-flying gymnasts and the muscle tone of the runners’ bodies. (Really? Is it possible to be that fit?)

The Olympics without fail inspire me to return to my lap swimming, do more stomach crunches and eat a little healthier. In short, they make me try to be more than I am.

Which brings me to the United States and the pandemic. As infections and hospitalizations rise around the country and vaccine hesitancy lingers, we have to ask ourselves: Are we being the best we can be?

During a McKnight’s Home Care podcast this week, Bill Dombi, president of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, said the vaccine hesitancy in the field keeps him and others up at night. The damage of staying on our current course could be great for the field. Even if 90% of an agency’s workers are vaccinated, that 10% poses a problem in terms of being able to provide work, he said.

While the most proven way to change people’s minds is through peers, he believes market forces might start playing a role. Clients are telling agencies not to send staff if they are not vaccinated, which could make people want to get the shot. 

“That translates to saying no to admissions to care, which affects the bottom line of that company,” he said.

To help encourage vaccinations, Dombi recommends that agencies remove barriers to receiving the vaccine, including providing time off, paying workers for travel and supporting good information.

Just imagine. An industry that conquers COVID-19? Talk about greatness.

Liza Berger is editor of McKnight’s Home Care. Email her at [email protected].