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La. residents share mixed reactions over Biden’s nursing home vaccine order

Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 10:35 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Nursing homes that want to keep their federal funding will have to make sure their staff is vaccinated against COVID.

President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced that his administration will require that nursing home staff be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition for those facilities to continue receiving federal Medicare and Medicaid funding.

“If you visit, live, or work in a nursing home, you should not be at a high risk for contracting COVID from unvaccinated employees,” Biden said.

The new mandate, in the form of a forthcoming regulation to be issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, could take effect as soon as next month.

The decision is also the first time President Biden has threatened to withhold federal funds over vaccinations. This could affect more than 15,000 nursing homes, which employ about 1.3 million people across the country.

Some Baton Rouge residents are applauding the President’s efforts.

“Employers have the right to require people to take certain vaccinations and take certain health measures,” Dale Medley said.

However, not everyone is on the same page.

“The hospital I work at gave us a choice to get the vaccination, and I 100% agree with giving everybody a choice right now,” Alexa Ransbottom said.

People like Ransbottom believe they shouldn’t be forced to get the shot.

“Some people, it might not be a choice to get the vaccine due to allergies, comorbidities, and past medical history, so I do believe it should be a choice right now,” Ransbottom said.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, about 40% of nursing home workers nationwide are not vaccinated.

The President hopes this will better protect the people that stand the most at-risk.

“With this announcement, I’m using the power of the federal government as a payer of health care costs to ensure we reduce those risks to our most vulnerable seniors. These steps are all about keeping people safe and out of harm’s way,” Biden said.

Last year CMS used similar regulatory authority to prohibit most visitors from nursing homes in an effort to protect residents.

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