The largest nursing home operator in the United States plans to ensure all workers have access to COVID-19 vaccines at its facilities, but it will not require them to take them, according to a recent report by the Washington Post.
Richard Feifer, M.D., Genesis HealthCare’s executive vice president and chief medical officer, told the news agency the operator wants to make getting a vaccine, once ready, as convenient as possible for its about 45,000 nursing home employees, but he also noted that come workers could be hesitant to take one.
“Once you start creating mandates and requirements, in some ways that may be counterproductive to building trust and we really want to build trust,” Feifer said. He added that the “concept of vaccinating all the staff and residents in our facilities is monumental.”
The Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory committee is set to discuss Pfizer’s emergency use authorization (EUA) request for its COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 10. The government could be distributing a vaccine two days after that meeting if all goes well, federal officials noted in late November.
The Trump administration in mid-October announced a COVID-19 vaccine program after reaching an agreement with retailers CVS and Walgreens to administer the vaccines free of charge to long-term care facilities once approved.
This story has been updated.