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Find A Middle Ground To Keep Health Care Facilities Staffed

The WCA Home’s decision to begin transfer procedures for half of its residents should scare the families of elderly nursing residents throughout the county.

The Fredonia nursing home is like many others throughout the county in that it was already struggling to attract workers. The state’s action to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for all health care, nursing home and long term care facilitie workers has led to at least six WCA Home employees to say they’re leaving on Oct. 7, roughly two weeks after the mandate takes effect.

More facilities are likely going to be in the same boat.

in our view, the vaccine is safe and should be taken by those who work with a population most susceptible to serious COVID-19 infection. The issue here is timing. A sizeable part of the workforce has chosen not to work for various reasons, and the state’s decision — while well-intentioned — is also exacerbating a workforce shortage that places senior citizens at risk.

So, we echo the call by Assembly Republicans last week — how do Gov. Kathy Hochul and Howard Zucker, state health commissioner, plan to handle this mess?

In our opinion, the state must either push this deadline out or take state Republicans’ suggestion to also increase access to personal protective equipment, including N95 masks, for healthcare settings and allow for weekly testing of unvaccinated healthcare workers.

This is not a political issue, nor is it a theoretical discussion of individual rights. The health and well being of the elderly are at risk, and it’s time for everyone involved to come to a better solution than uprooting senior citizens’ lives because health care facilities can’t find enough vaccinated workers.

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