Family Healthcast: A lot of NYS nursing home staff declining vaccine

Family Healthcast

(WSYR-TV) — If you’ve had no luck making an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine, then you know firsthand that there’s a shortage right now.

Several Central New York counties have announced that they will be given far fewer shots this week because supplies have been slashed.

But, there’s one group where the problem is not supply, but willingness.

The number of nursing home workers in New York State who have declined the COVID-19 vaccine rivals the number who have been inoculated.

The latest numbers show about 37% of the more than 130,000 people working in “skilled nursing” facilities in the state have been vaccinated.

But, 32% of the workers have declined to take the vaccine. In some places, like on Long Island, the ones who don’t want the vaccine outnumber the ones who do. 46% declined while 34% have been vaccinated.

This is a huge concern because nursing home staff work with the population at the highest risk of dying from COVID-19.

The vaccination rate among residents is much higher. 67% have taken the vaccine and 16% have declined.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the 120,000 unused doses would be reallocated to the state’s main vaccination program.

Many of the nursing home workers are lower-income and people of color, communities that tend to have higher rates of vaccine hesitancy. Cuomo says that’s understandable and the state is planning on doing an education program.

Anyone who has declined a vaccine will be able to get one if they change their mind.

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