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Home healthcare workers must be vaccinated by Oct. 7, hundreds projected to resign

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Posted at 11:08 PM, Oct 04, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Another vaccine mandate deadline quickly approaching; home healthcare workers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 7.

“I think it is going to make a difference in that we can help to keep people safe,” VP of Home Health Services at People Inc. Jake Wilkins said.

“It’s important for all healthcare workers to be vaccinated,” Dr. Thomas Russo from the UB Jacobs School of Medicine said.

Wilkins said People Inc. has about 24 at home caretakers and 50 patients. He said almost the entire staff is vaccinated.

The Home Care Association of New York Statesaid there are more than 1,500 home care agencies across New York State. They said a survey, where 189 agencies responded, found 894 home care nurses say they would voluntarily resign over the mandate.

“It’s going to mean there’s a significant amount of people within our population who have unmet needs,” Wilkins said.

12.7% of survey responses came from Western New York agencies. The survey projects an average case load of 20 patients per nurse; that means the resignations could affect as many as 17,880 home care patients.

“As the deadline approaches, fortunately the overwhelming majority realizes that it’s important to get vaccinated,” Dr. Russo said.

But some are also concerned the resignations could have a domino effect.

“It can also stress other parts of our system if people can’t me managed appropriately at home,” Wilkins said.

Wilkins said assisted living facilities and possibly even hospitals could feel the impact if hundreds of home healthcare workers do resign.