I finally got my shot. After Illinois’ Cook County released 30,000 first-dose appointments this week and because of my newfound eligibility, I pounced. My vaccination site was at a former Kmart in Des Plaines, IL.
Once I receive the second of my two Pfizer vaccine shots, I will join the ranks of the 64,422,618 Americans who, as of April 7, have been fully vaccinated.
I’d like home care professionals to join me in my status as a partially inoculated individual. Unfortunately, a recent survey by staffing firm Medflyt didn’t reveal much progress on this front. The survey, conducted between March 3 and 10, found that only about 23% of home care workers had received a COVID-19 vaccination.
That’s just not good enough.
Barriers to vaccination cited in the report included limited vaccination sites and scheduling conflicts with staff. The survey also found that about 40% of respondents said they didn’t know where to get a vaccine. If we want to prevent future illness of patients and staff and defeat the virus, we need to make it possible for workers to have access to this potentially lifesaving treatment.
Ironically, the same week as the webinar about the Medflyt report, certified nursing aides held a virtual March on Washington. They asked for — no surprise — higher wages, sufficient training and general recognition for what they do.
Recognition includes acknowledging CNAs’ right to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. As shots become more widely available, home care workers need to have priority. If that means meeting them at their place of work, that is what we should do.
On a personal note, being part of the mass vaccination drive at the shuttered Kmart this week made me feel great national pride. To watch large numbers of people at various vaccination checkpoints and see the National Guard calmly and efficiently coordinate this effort made me think this country is capable of anything.
Let’s not leave anyone behind.