‘Dramatic increase’ expected in number of long-term care facilities staff getting COVID-19 vaccines

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — More staff at long-term care facilities are getting vaccinated, according to this state.

Earlier this month, about 30% of staff at long-term care facilities were choosing to get a vaccine. In comparison, about 70% of residents wanted it.

The low staff vaccination rate was worrisome for family members who have loved ones at those facilities, directors of the care centers and industry leaders because the long-term care facilities are vulnerable to the virus.

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“It’s the kind of place where any infection is going to spread rapidly,” said Dr. Lindsay Peterson with the University of South Florida’s School of Aging Studies.

But Jared Moskowitz, Florida’s Emergency Management director, gave a reassuring update.

“We expect to see the amount of staff members, originally around 35% of staff, go up dramatically,” he said.

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He said pharmacies and the state-hired private company are now going into long-term care facilities for those second shots.

Previously, state officials said they were hoping that when the clinics for the second doses came around, staff members who sat out the first time would decide to get the shot.

That is, in fact, playing out right now.

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“Their friends have gotten the vaccine, and everything is fine, and they’re gonna want to return as well,” Moskowitz said. “I think we continue to make progress every single solitary day. I think you’re going to see a dramatic increase.”

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.