More than 10,000 Alabama nursing home employees must get vaccinated under new Biden mandate

Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 9:55 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - President Biden announced today that nursing homes receiving Medicare or Medicaid funding must have their employees vaccinated or they will lose that funding.

Right now the Alabama Nursing Home Association is waiting on details to relay to more than 20,000 Alabama nursing home employees. There were 31,000 pre-pandemic, but there has not been an updated count during the pandemic.

President Biden says the vaccine mandate for nursing home employees is because they are disproportionately unvaccinated, endangering residents.

“More than 130,000 residents in nursing homes over the period of this virus have sadly passed away,” said President Biden.

Just 40 percent of nursing home employees nationwide are vaccinated; here in Alabama, more than 51 percent of employees have taken the shot, leaving at least 10,000 people unvaccinated.

“Alabama is ahead of Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee,” said John Matson with ANHA.

Matson says there is a shortage of employees in nursing homes, and says it’s too soon to tell if they’ll lose employees with the new federal vaccine mandate.

“Certainly anytime you have an announcement like this you need to know the details, and that’s what we’re hoping we get in the coming days,” he added.

Some unknowns? When employees have to get vaccinated by, and what exactly happens if they don’t. Matson says those details will come from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“That’s when we can begin to operationalize it, once we know what is expected and when it will be implemented, then we can begin interpreting it and helping our members understand it and put it into practice,” said Matson.

Nationally, this news affects almost 2 million nursing home workers.

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