Vaxxed or axed: To protect patients, every health care worker must be vaccinated

Since the start of June, there continue to be roughly 150 deaths per week among nursing home residents due to Covid-19. Nearly 80% of nursing home residents have already been vaccinated, well above the 70% or so threshold most experts cite for achieving herd immunity. The problem appears to be low vaccination rates among staff.

Nationwide, only 55% of these staffers have received the Covid-19 vaccine, and great variability exists from one nursing home to the next. In New York state, 85% of nursing home residents have been vaccinated, while in many facilities less than 40% of staff have been vaccinated, including one in Oneida County where only 16% of staff were vaccinated.

While every Covid-19 death is a tragedy, those in nursing homes are particularly so because most of them are avoidable. Many have been traced to unvaccinated workers who then infect other workers and vulnerable residents who cannot mount strong immune reactions to the vaccine.