Iowa AARP supports Biden administration’s move to require vaccinations of nursing home staff

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DES MOINES, Iowa – President Biden announced a series of new measures to address the surge in COVID-19 Wednesday including vaccine requirements, booster shots, and efforts to make it easier to keep kids masked up.

AARP Iowa State Director Brad Anderson hopes the vaccine mandate for nursing home staff helps get more workers vaccinated.

“We’ve needed to see progress for a while now,” Anderson said, “and I’m optimistic that this call from the Biden administration, tying the vaccinations to federal funds will help move the needle in a big way.”

The new requirement will withhold Medicare and Medicaid funding from facilities that don’t comply.

Recent data from AARP shows only 22-percent of Iowa nursing homes have met the threshold of 75-percent of its workers being vaccinated.

Anderson says vaccines are key in avoiding what long-term care facilities saw in 2020.

“We know we’ve seen 2,300 nursing home staff and residents die because of COVID-19,” Anderson said. “We also saw 14-15 months of lockdowns and social isolation which was just heartbreaking and we just cannot let that happen again.”

Nursing home administrators will now be tasked with getting their workers vaccinated. WesleyLife says it’s now requiring all new team members to be fully vaccinated. Time will tell how these facilities will work with all their staff to comply with this new requirement.

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