When Pam Goble first heard that President Biden was mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for health care workers, she had one thought: It’s about time. Goble is owner and CEO of Ability HomeCare, a pediatric home health care agency serving 900 children in San Antonio, Texas.
Of her 261 nurses and therapists, 56 have declined to get the vaccine. “I am one of those people that really feels everybody should have their choice,” says Goble. She did not impose her own vaccine mandate even as the delta variant drove a spike in COVID-19 cases among her employees and the families they serve.
Now she’s concerned that her unvaccinated employees may refuse to comply with the federal mandate once it’s implemented later this fall. “We would have to let people go,” she says. “I worry if our patients, who are medically fragile children, are going to get the care they need.”
Health care workers had priority access to the COVID-19 vaccine back in December 2020, but nine months later, many are still reluctant to get the shots. Vaccination rates remain low in some states and among some subgroups of health care workers such as nursing assistants.
As part of his push to get more Americans vaccinated, Biden has essentially told 17 million health care workers: Get vaccinated or get out. He has not offered them the testing option he’s given workers in most other industries. READ MORE