John O’Connor

The federal government is urging providers to get staff vaccinated against COVID-19. The major trade groups in this field are doing the same.

And yet, many operators remain far from convinced that staff vaccination requirements are wise.

How to explain these quickly-forming battle lines? To borrow a line from Cool Hand Luke, maybe what we have here is a “failure to communicate.”

Actually, the problem may run deeper. For what we may really have here are two very different takes on reality.

On the one side are those who insist that vaccination mandates are not just good policy, they are a no-brainer. This camp’s argument runs along these lines: More than a quarter million people are dead thanks to the pandemic, and we now have a safe, effective vaccine available. Use the darn thing.

On the other side are those who say such requirements are not only unjustified, they are potentially dangerous. Who knows what the long-term effects of this hastily created vaccine might be? Besides, whatever happened to the right to make our own decisions?

Many opposed nursing home operators are adding this caveat: We can’t find enough help as it is. Now you want us to provide vaccinated workers as well?

Immovable object, say hello to irresistible force.

I’ve never seen a divide like this in our industry before. And who knows how it will play out?

Maybe it’s the Irish in me, but I’m fairly certain one thing will remain after this battle runs its course. And that thing will be this: plenty of hard feelings, on both sides.

 John O’Connor is Editorial Director for McKnight’s.