2021-10-10 03:48:35 34,000 Unvaccinated Home Health Aides in New York Lose Jobs
34,000 Unvaccinated Home Health Aides in New York Lose Jobs
According to preliminary state data, the vaccination rate among home health workers in New York as a deadline for them to get Covid shots arrived on Thursday was about 86 percent, exceeding the expectations of some union and industry leaders and suggesting thousands may have made a last-minute decision to be inoculated.
However, the state’s survey of home health care agencies revealed that at least 34,000 workers appeared to have missed the deadline to get vaccinated under the new state mandate, rendering them unable to work and exacerbating the industry’s labor shortage.
Some industry leaders predicted that as few as 70% of workers would be vaccinated before the deadline, and the higher-than-expected rate suggested that some workers chose to be immunized in order to keep their jobs.
When faced with a similar cutoff the previous week, hospital and nursing home staff in New York accepted the shot in greater numbers than home health aides, who typically earn slightly more than minimum wage. When the deadline of Sept. 27 arrived, approximately 92 percent of hospital and nursing home workers had received at least one shot.
Though home health aides have largely remained out of the spotlight during the pandemic, the state of New York has at least 250,000 of them, with some estimates putting the number at over 500,000. Employees of the state’s 1,500 licensed home health agencies were subject to the deadline. Another 30% of home health aides in the state were hired directly by patients through a Medicaid program and thus were not subject to the mandate.
New York had never previously released data on the percentage of home health aides who had been vaccinated, making comparisons with the new figures, which were released on Friday, impossible.
The figures came from a survey of all licensed home care agencies conducted by the Department of Health, which asked them to report their vaccination levels on Thursday. A total of 245,000 workers were represented by the agencies that responded. They reported that 86 percent of their employees had been partially vaccinated and 71 percent had been fully vaccinated on average.