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Local nursing homes take issue with employee vaccine mandate

Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 6:30 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - There is push back from some Mississippi nursing homes over President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for employees.

Management of one Jackson nursing home believes the requirement could drive away workers in the already short-staffed field.

“Everyone comes to work here. It is something that most people feel called to do,” said Talethia Catchings.

She is the administrator of Pleasant Hills Community Living Center. Her staff of more than 75 may soon be required to be inoculated against the coronavirus.

It is a move the facilities’ ownership believes may drive workers away.

Community Eldercare Services operates the nursing home and 18 others in Mississippi and Tennessee.

President and CEO Doug Wright says the government should not single out one provider group for mandatory vaccinations. Catchings reports that 50 percent of the staff are fully vaccinated.

“We just want people to be able to have the choice to make the best decision for them and their families. And if it does become mandated, then we’re just gonna make some tough decisions and we’ll move from there,” said Catchings.

Wednesday, President Joe Biden announced that vaccinations will be required for nursing home staff of facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding.

Catchings said the facility follows all state health department and federal safety guidelines and has had no recent cases. One employee, who had no contact with residents, was diagnosed recently, according to the nursing home administrator.

Seventy-five residents live in the facility.

“We at Community Eldercare Services are going to take the steps necessary to ensure that everyone’s here in a comfortable working environment,” added Catchings.

Nursing home employees could be mandated to get the vaccines as soon as next month.

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