Federal Program To Bring Vaccine To Nursing Homes Missed Around Half Of Staff

Janet Caldwell was looking forward to visiting her mother again as she did before the pandemic, with no dirty window or awkward outdoor booth between them.

Her 87-year-old mom’s nursing home in Arkansas had announced in mid-March it would allow family members to visit residents indoors — something it had not permitted for an entire year in the coronavirus pandemic.

But a few days later, the nursing home called Caldwell back to say the visits were off. There was a COVID-19 outbreak among the staff, even though weeks before the workers at the facility had already been offered the coronavirus vaccine twice.

“I was angry,” Caldwell says. “I felt just totally hopeless that this was just going to continue and it was just never going to end.”

Nationwide, most of the elderly and vulnerable in long-term care facilities have taken the coronavirus vaccine, but many of the staff caring for them have refused it.

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