Providers who decide to adopt mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies for their employees will receive support from the nation’s largest nursing home association. 

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living early Thursday announced it is backing long-term care facilities that decide to make inoculations a condition of employment for their personnel, and provided tips for providers implementing the mandates.

The tips included providing exemptions for medical reasons and accommodations; ensuring the policy is consistent with federal infection control guidelines, as well as local and state laws; offering education about the efficacy and safety of COVID-19 vaccines for staff; and offering flexible scheduling and time off to ensure workers can get and, if necessary recover,  after receiving the vaccine. 

“Each state and facility must make the best decision for their specific circumstances,” the organization said in a statement. “AHCA/NCAL supports all providers that adopt mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies for healthcare personnel, with state and local regulations and circumstances shaping whether and how these policies are implemented.” 

AHCA/NCAL’s move came days after LeadingAge, on its own and jointly with 50-plus other organizations, called for mandates for all healthcare personnel.

The larger organization’s statement Thursday still just “strongly urged” the vaccination of all healthcare personnel and said vaccines provide strong protection against workers unintentionally carrying the disease to work and spreading it to patients and peers. 

However, the association also noted that mandates could even more negatively impact workforce challenges that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. 

“Vaccine mandates may further challenge providers trying to recruit and retain a qualified workforce,” the organization wrote. “We renew our call for state and federal governments to enact solutions to help address these long-standing workforce challenges.”