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Biden to require vaccinations for nursing home staffs

President Biden speaks from behind the presidential lectern at the White House
President Biden speaks about the COVID-10 response and vaccination program from the East Room of the White House on Wednesday.
(Susan Walsh / Associated Press)

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

Biden unveiled the new policy Wednesday afternoon in a White House address as the administration continues to look for ways to use mandates to encourage vaccination holdouts to get shots.

“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.

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Hundreds of thousands of nursing home workers are not vaccinated, according to federal data, despite those facilities bearing the brunt of the early COVID-19 outbreak and their workers being among the first in the country to be eligible for shots.

It comes as the Biden administration seeks to raise the costs for those who have yet to get vaccinated, after months of incentives and giveaways proved to be insufficient to drive tens of millions of Americans to roll up their sleeves.

Health officials recommended people receive a booster shot eight months after their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine, ‘to maximize protection.’

Biden announced late last month that all federal workers must distance themselves physically, wear masks and receive regular COVID tests unless they are fully vaccinated. He also added stricter requirements for federal workers in frontline health roles, and his administration has moved toward mandating vaccinations for the military as soon as next month.

Biden has also celebrated businesses that have mandated vaccinations for their own workforces and encouraged others to follow, and highlighted local vaccination mandates as a condition for daily activities, like indoor dining.

The new effort seems to be paying off, as the nation’s rate of new vaccinations has nearly doubled over the past month. More than 200 million Americans have now received at least one dose of the vaccines, according to the White House, but about 80 million Americans are eligible but haven’t yet been vaccinated.

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


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