LeadingAge PA statement on vaccine mandates for health care workers

By LeadingAge PA
August 4, 2021

As the association leading the senior services industry and representing more than 380 nonprofit long-term care facilities across Pennsylvania, the safety and care of all residents and staff in member communities remains LeadingAge PA's top priority. Since the coronavirus pandemic swept across the globe in March 2020, long-term care facilities have been at the epicenter of the fight against a virus most dangerous to those we serve. Throughout this crisis, we have fought hard for the resources and support needed in older adults congregate settings and continue to do so. We know the fight is not over.

Health care and aging services have strongly encouraged everyone to get vaccinated, especially those in long-term care settings because they are disproportionately at risk. Not only have vaccines been proven safe and effective against a pandemic that has plagued and targeted our aging adults for nearly 18 months, but they also reduce the risk of spreading the virus while saving lives.

Access to COVID-19 vaccine resulted in 59% of staff and 83% of resident vaccinations in Pennsylvania, and LeadingAge PA is working to help increase those rates in member communities by providing education and resources on the efficacy and safety of vaccination. Nationally, 61% of staff and 80% of nursing home residents are fully vaccinated, and COVID deaths have plummeted from a high of over 6,000 weekly in December 2020 to 130 in May 2021. 

Mandatory vaccinations as a condition of employment in long-term care facilities have increased in Pennsylvania because their staff are providing daily direct care services to those most vulnerable to the coronavirus. Even fully vaccinated older adults in long-term care settings have shown to be at risk with the new variants of COVID emerging and the presence of unvaccinated staff. 

For all of these reasons, LeadingAge PA:

  • Encourages our members, and all health care organizations, to mandate vaccination for staff.
  • Supports our members as they make decisions with respect to vaccine mandates with the safety and care of all members of their community at the core. All leaders are respected for making the best possible choice for their communities at this time, given their mission, residents, and staff.
  • Supports LeadingAge national's advocacy for vaccinations and hope that every organization engages in a thoughtful process to ensure the safety of the residents and staff.
  • Commits to providing members with the resources and information they need to educate staff and community members about the efficacy and safety of the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Encourages everyone to make responsible decisions with compassion for the safety and care of all.