|Posted:||December 7, 2020 11:43 AM|
|From:||Representative Dan Frankel|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Stopping the Spread of COVID-19 in Long-Term Care Facilities|
As we enter a third wave of infections in our communities, infection and death rates in long-term care facilities are already at their highest since summer. Knowing that this population is particularly vulnerable—people in long-term care facilities make up 8% of coronavirus cases, but 45% of all COVID-19 deaths—the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has recommended that long-term care be placed at the front of the line for the COVID-19 vaccine once approved. This prioritization is helpful, however, only if both residents and staff take the vaccine.
Herd immunity will not be reached, and the most vulnerable in these settings will not be protected if staff members are not vaccinated. My bill would expand current law that calls for staff at long-term care facilities to get flu and strep vaccines so they are required to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. To account for unique circumstances among certain individuals, the bill would allow a staff member to be exempt only if they can present a doctor’s note indicating the specific nature and probable duration of the medical condition or circumstances for which the doctor does not recommend immunization.
Long-term care infection rates are dictated by community spread, as staff may unknowingly carry COVID-19 from the outside in. Together, we can ensure that the spread of the virus stops at the door and that our relatives are protected from further harm caused by it. Please consider signing on to this crucial public health measure.