The Health Care Council of Illinois (HCCI), representing over 300 skilled nursing facilities, 55,000 residents and 100,000 employees in Illinois, issued the following statement regarding COVID-19 vaccinations for healthcare workers:
The COVID-19 vaccines remain the most effective weapon in the fight to neutralize the spread of coronavirus.
Operators of Illinois’ skilled nursing facilities have worked around the clock since late December when the first supply of vaccines became available to get shots in the arms of our residents and staff.
Our members have spent countless hours formulating plans to educate, encourage and collaborate with residents and staff members to get vaccinated, from working one on one with unvaccinated employees, employing infectious disease experts to answer questions and concerns about the vaccine, and partnering with trusted community groups to deploy information campaigns about the importance of the vaccines.
However, with the alarming spike in cases of the highly contagious Delta variant, we recognize more aggressive steps must be taken to protect the most vulnerable among us.
We appreciate President Biden’s announcement to require skilled nursing staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in a forthcoming regulation to increase vaccine rates in our facilities. However, we believe bolder action is necessary. Therefore, HCCI strongly supports a universal mandate for vaccinating all health care personnel, including those in skilled nursing facilities as well as hospital and other acute care staff such as doctor’s offices, and home and community-based services.
Without an across-the-board mandate for all health care settings, this federal action that applies only to skilled nursing facilities is likely to cause vaccine-hesitant workers to move to other providers that do not have to comply with a mandate, intensifying the very problem we are trying to solve with such a requirement.
We stand ready to collaborate with our federal and state elected officials, regulatory agencies, unions, workers and community partners to institute a thoughtful, effective approach to reaching universal vaccination in the healthcare industry.
Press Release from the Health Care Council of Illinois