Covid 19 Vaccination Now a Condition of Employment for Some Senior Living Operators

Some senior living operators are moving to make a COVID-19 vaccination a condition of employment to more quickly mitigate the effect of the virus in their communities. Atria Senior Living CEO John A. Moore on Monday called the company’s decision to make the vaccine a mandatory condition of employment “the responsible thing to do in light of the threat posed by COVID-19 and the hope the vaccine holds in eliminating that threat to our residents and staff, as well as society at large.” All U.S. employees of Atria are being required to take both doses of the vaccine by May 1. Distribution of the vaccines in Canada and the pace of the rollout will affect the timing there. The company recently rolled out a “Sleeve Up Atria” campaign to educate employees and residents about the vaccines. Atria operates independent living, assisted living, supportive living and memory care communities in more than 185 locations in 26 states and seven Canadian provinces. The company has more than 11,000 employees 

Life or death

Bloomfield, NJ-based Juniper Communities, which operates 22 communities in three states, also is making COVID-19 vaccination a condition of employment. Juniper Communities founder and CEO Lynne Katzmann, Ph.D., told McKnight’s Senior Living, it wasn’t an easy decision but called vaccination “the quickest route to health, and health is the quickest route to re-engaging with our community.”

“I’m giving people back the ability to hug their family members, to be physically engaged, to get back to the life — or get to a new life — that fits the way they want to live,” she said.

Juniper Communities has approximately 1,500 employees. Of the communities that have held vaccine clinics so far, Katzmann said that roughly 98% of employees were vaccinated and close to 100% of residents were vaccinated. A small number of workers have waivers for health reasons, she said, indicating that they will have to don a different type of personal protective equipment to carry out their duties.

Juniper rolled out an extensive employee education campaign that included phone messages, email blasts, blog posts, webinars and personal discussions about the process, potential side effects and the vaccine process, Katzmann said.

“At the end of the day, wouldn’t you rather have a vaccination that’s been well-tested and proven not to have any negative side effects than get COVID?” she said. “It’s vaccination or COVID, life or death.”

Even after vaccination, Katzmann said employees and residents will continue to mask, social distance and undergo testing twice a week for the foreseeable future

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *