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The business need – and the public health need – to have larger proportions of vaccinated employees in the Senior Living industry is clear. Scott's Senior Living Practice recently hosted a webinar to provide a comprehensive overview of potential strategies to increase the level of vaccination among employees of Senior Living organizations. Featuring speakers with a wide range of expertise, including medical, legal and risk perspectives, the webinar highlighted the need for vaccinated employees due to asymptomatic spread, addressed specific risk factors for the industry's employee population and provided timely guidance for employers.
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The webinar featured the following experts: Meredith Berger, MD, founder of Virginia Diabetes & Endocrinology, P.C .; Dina Fonzone, Vice President of Scott Health Risk Performance; Alex Shaw, Scott Risk Performance Consultant; and Kimberly Daniel, J.D., partner, Hancock Daniel.
Vaccination acceptance among older living staff
Although the need for vaccinated employees is clear, staff vaccination does not currently fall below the expectations of many Senior Living organizations. When asked about their expectations of employee vaccination levels before the vaccination process started, more than 60% of respondents said in a poll during our webinar that they expected vaccination levels above 60%.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, during the first month of the federal vaccine program, qualified care facilities that had at least one vaccine clinic saw an estimated median of only 37.5% of staff received at least one dose . According to a management survey conducted by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC), the number of vaccinated employees in nursing homes and qualified care facilities is just under 50%.
How can older living employers close the vaccination gap?
There is a continuous vaccine acceptance and the majority of individuals may be affected by acceptance or refusal based on a number of factors. Our webinar addressed the following strategies that many Senior Living employers are currently considering in hopes of increasing employee vaccination levels:
Mandate vaccines are not a new concept. Many employers in this industry have a history of requiring other vaccines, such as the flu vaccine, and many are considering how mandated COVID-1
According to our webinar survey of Senior Living Employers, 69% of respondents are currently considering requiring the vaccine as a condition of employment and 85% say they would consider prescribing the vaccine when it is fully approved by the FDA.
Many employers are also considering various incentive programs to further encourage vaccines. However, 54% of our respondents to the webinar survey do not believe that an incentive of any amount would motivate employees to change their minds about being vaccinated.
Those considering a mandate or incentive should note that these programs must be carefully implemented to ensure compliance with various laws. In addition, employers must consider the unintended cultural and economic consequences created by mandates and / or incentives.
At Scott, we encourage our clients to see their vaccination strategy as part of a larger health and risk management strategy. Consequently, the following steps are a good place to start when deciding how your organization will encourage your employees to be vaccinated:
- 1. Do not assume that your employees have the right information to make an informed vaccination decision. It is your responsibility to educate your employees with evidence-based information about the vaccine, including risks, safety, efficacy, and motivational factors for vaccination.
- 2. Encourage and / or give advice from medical providers.
- 3. Listen to objections, follow up with evidence-based information.
- 4. Treat employees with respect and sensitivity.
- 5. Lead by example.
Legal implications of your vaccination strategy
The case law is evolving and there are many unanswered legal questions and concerns for employers regarding COVID-19 vaccinations. With various strategies that employers can implement to encourage vaccination levels as well as other implications for labor law, it is important that Senior Living employers hire a qualified attorney to provide advice as they develop and implement their vaccination policies and strategies.
If you have questions about the risks and benefits of your organization's vaccination strategy, please contact a Scott Benefits Consultant or Risk Advisor . Scott is hosting another webinar on this topic on March 18 (not specifically for Senior Living), you can sign up for this webinar by clicking the button below.
Sign up for Scott's upcoming webinar:
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