Monday, October 18, 2021

Thousands of healthcare workers with private businesses can’t afford to get measles shots

As of Thursday morning, almost 15,000 nursing assistants, caregivers and health care workers in New York State who work for private employers had been vaccinated for measles through a program approved by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. New York State Department of Health officials reported there have been 38 confirmed cases of measles in New York as of Thursday. One of those cases is the first this year in New York City.

Thirteen of the 38 reported cases have been in children, one of whom is a nursing assistant, child care or home health care worker. Parents may have one year to recover from a 2015 outbreak of measles, the vaccine doesn’t protect against any other outbreaks after that. With the measles out of the news, only 30,000 workers had gotten vaccinated by the time of the current outbreak. They don’t get paid if they don’t receive the vaccine.

Under a New York state law that took effect in 2015, health care workers are given a year to get vaccinated and have been given incentives to get it quickly. The plan is to reach 50,000 workers by April 30, but as of Thursday morning, at least 14,853 have taken advantage of the program, state officials said. The State is not yet counting up the number of people that might have managed to get the vaccine through their employers, because people who are exempt can still get vaccinated.

Nursing assistants are the most likely to get caught up in a measles outbreak because they live in close proximity to their patients, and they are not required to get the vaccine unless they work directly for a hospital.

“With the measles on the rise once again, we are working to increase vaccination coverage of health care workers and protecting vulnerable patients by vaccinating as many individuals as possible,” said Lisa Schwartz, director of the Office of Health Insurance for the New York State Department of Health.

Read the full story at The New York Times.


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