Months after the first COVID-19 vaccinations were administered at long-term care facilities in New Jersey, vaccination rates among staff are lagging. While 84% of all residents at nursing homes and assisted living centers are now vaccinated, the vaccination rate among staff is 56%.
State long-term care family and resident advocate Laurie Brewer says the high vaccination rates among residents allowed indoor visits to resume last month. But under current guidelines, when even one staff member tests positive for the virus, facilities must shut down for outbreak testing. “Your activities stop, your social visits with your grandchildren, that stops. So basically what happens is staff can come and go but residents of long-term care are stuck there in the facility because staff tested positive,” Brewer said.
Thirty-five nursing homes have now mandated staff get vaccinated and another 80 are considering it, according to the state Department of Health.