coronavirus vaccine

Nursing Homes Make Big Push to Change Minds of Workers Who Refused Vaccine

Cash bonuses, free TVs and paid time off are among the incentives nursing homes are offering to convince staff members to get vaccinated

NBC Universal, Inc.

The pandemic has taken a deadly toll on A.G. Rhodes Cobb, a nursing home on the outskirts of Atlanta. Twelve residents have died after contracting COVID-19. Forty-four staff members have fallen ill, NBC News reports.

But despite their up-close look at the virus's impact, most workers at the facility have been reluctant to get vaccinated. At the three clinics held last month at A.G. Rhodes Cobb and two other facilities in Georgia run by the same company, about 30 percent of staff members chose to get vaccinated, while 57 percent of residents opted in, according to management.

Nursing homes across the country are facing the same struggle, as workers have been more reluctant than residents to be vaccinated. Though rates vary widely, the American Health Care Association, which represents for-profit nursing homes, estimates that about 50 percent of long-term care staff members have been hesitant to get vaccinated. The majority of direct-care workers in nursing homes are people of color, who have generally been more hesitant to get vaccinated, based in part on their distrust of the federal government and the United States' history of medical racism.

Ahead of the next round of vaccinations, facilities have been brainstorming ways to convince wary staff members — a campaign that’s grown urgent as the pandemic has continued to spread unchecked and long-term care residents remain among those most likely to die from the virus.

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