Closeup of clinician's hands getting vaccine dose ready

One state is experiencing success with its COVID-19 vaccination mandate. Fully three quarters of long-term care facilities in Connecticut have a 95% staff COVID-19 vaccination rate, the state’s Department of Public Health announced Friday. For the outliers, penalties await.

The data come from LTC operators who met a state-mandated Sept. 28 deadline to report staff vaccination participation. Connecticut has required all workers to be vaccinated unless they apply for a health or religious exemption. There is a $20,000 per-day fine for noncompliance.

Among the more than 61,200 vaccinated LTC staff members included in the reports, 89% are fully vaccinated, and 7% are reported as partially vaccinated. In the meantime, 167 eldercare providers still had not complied with the mandated reporting by a grace period extension of Oct. 8. Some may need time to consolidate data from multiple locations that share staff, the DPH reported.

“We applaud the tens of thousands of vaccinated long-term care workers for prioritizing the health and safety of the patients and residents under their care as well as the health and safety of themselves, their families, and their co-workers,” DPH Commissioner Manisha Juthani, M.D., said in a Friday, Oct. 15, statement. 

Civil penalties

Notices of civil penalties will be issued next week to facilities that have missed the deadline or not reported at all. The state DPH also said it plans to perform compliance audits that will also check that facilities are authenticating the vaccination status of covered LTC workers. 

The state’s 600 LTCFs include nursing homes, assisted living services agencies, managed residential communities, residential care homes, chronic disease hospitals and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Under the state’s vaccination order, LTC providers cannot employ or contract with covered workers who are not fully or partially vaccinated against COVID-19 or do not have medical or religious exemptions for vaccination.

Vaccination mandates in other states and municipalities are meeting various levels of resistance. Many healthcare workers in New York who have refused to take the vaccine may be able to go back to work after a judge last week ruled that the state must allow religious exemptions to the mandate.