At NJ nursing homes ravaged by COVID, just half of workers are vaccinated
While 84% of long-term care facility residents have been vaccinated, just 56% of workers at those facilities have.
That concerns public health officials because long-term care residents are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, accounting for about half of all deaths in the state.
While demand for a COVID vaccine in New Jersey has decreased somewhat in recent days, almost 3 million Garden State residents are now completely vaccinated, and 83% of those 65 and older have received at least one dose of vaccine.
“Many of them are from communities of color, who have some long standing concerns about vaccines overall and clinical trials," state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said Wednesday. "We’re empathetic to that and we need to listen more and we need to build awareness and educate better.”
She another reason long-term care workers aren’t getting vaccinated is many are young and they get their information from the internet.
“There’s a number of myths on the internet around particularly the mRNA vaccines somehow affecting your DNA and fertility," she said. “We have a lot of education to do. I think the owners need to play a part in that and I think we’ll get those percentages up.”
Just 35 out of the state's 378 long-term care facilities have mandated the vaccine for their workers. Another 80 are considering the mandate.
The New Jersey Health Department has posted data about what percentage of staff at different nursing homes have been vaccinated, it’s available at www.nj.gov/health/ltc.
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com