Aug 4, 2021 - Health

Massachusetts to mandate COVID vaccination for long-term care staff

Pharmacists prepare the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Massachusetts announced Wednesday that most nursing home workers will be required be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by Oct. 10.

Driving the news: The requirement comes as cases driven by the Delta variant rise across the U.S. and Massachusetts reported 883 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday.

  • The state has 378 nursing facilities, as well as the two long-term care facilities for veterans in Massachusetts. As of Aug. 2, 155 facilities had less than 75% of their staff fully vaccinated.

The big picture: The mandate applies to “all individuals employed directly or by contract” at long-term care facilities. Unvaccinated workers must get at least one dose by Sept. 1, and be fully vaccinated by Oct. 10.

  • Workers can request an exemption for medical reasons or sincerely held religious beliefs.
  • The requirement is meant to “strengthen infection control and protect vulnerable residents.”

What they're saying: “Today’s actions reinforce the state’s commitment to ensuring the safety and care for these residents, some of our most vulnerable residents,” a statement from Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker's office said.

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