With COVID vaccination rates lower than expected and a late summer/early fall surge in cases, many governments and businesses have begun imposing mandates. So, do you have to get the shot to keep your job? Here’s how vaccine mandates may impact in-home caregivers.
Are There Vaccination Mandates for In-Home Caregivers?
As with many other aspects of the pandemic, vaccination mandates are extremely confusing. Currently, there is a collection of, ever-changing and often contradictory, federal, state, and city regulations. At the most basic level, mandates fall into two categories – government mandates and company requirements.
- At the Government Level
Several states have banned vaccine mandates, while others have embraced them. However, even state-wide mandates may only impact certain jobs or industries. For example, Massachusetts requires COVID vaccines for staff at skilled nursing facilities as well as for home care workers. On the other hand, as of September 2021, Connecticut has vaccine mandates for staff in skilled nursing facilities but NOT for home care workers. At the federal level, President Joe Biden’s Path Out of the Pandemic Plan also places restrictions on home health agencies. Health care providers that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement must require vaccination regardless of the state they are in.
- At the Business Level
Although state-wide vaccination bans sound definitive, they usually only apply to state and local governments. Therefore, a privately held business can ask its employees to get a COVID shot despite state laws. And historically, courts have sided with employers, not employees when vaccination is required as a “condition of employment.”
So… Do In-Home Caregivers Need to Be Vaccinated?
In most cases, the answer is “Yes,” but it may not be straightforward. If you’re not sure where you stand, start by answering these three questions.
- Is There a Government Requirement?
Ultimately, you must follow government regulations. Otherwise, your company could lose its government funding and you could risk losing your license or certification. If you don’t know what the rules are, ask your employer or visit your state’s official website.
- Is There an Employer Requirement?
If your employer has a vaccine requirement, you must get the COVID shot or risk losing your job. Keep in mind, your employer may not be making the rules. They too could be subject to federal, state, or local regulations.
- Is It the Right Choice?
Let’s say you are an independent contractor. If your state doesn’t have a vaccination mandate and you don’t rely on Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement, you can decide whether to get the shot. Nevertheless, it is important to consider not only your health but also the health of your patients. Ongoing research suggests the effectiveness of COVID vaccines declines over time especially for the elderly and immunocompromised. As a result, full vaccination for both you and your clients may offer the best protection.
Are You Looking for an In-Home Health Care Job?
Anodyne is hiring in-home caregivers, HHAs and CNAs. If you enjoy working with patients in a personalized setting, we have open positions for you. Our recruiters place talented health and home care professionals with families throughout Eastern Massachusetts. Learn more about the benefits of job hunting through Anodyne today!