In case you missed it, the New Hampshire Bulletin reported that, contrary to what Governor Sununu has incorrectly claimed, vaccine mandates are not to blame for health care worker shortages — it is the ongoing pandemic that has worsened the already existing worker shortage.
Annmarie Timmins in the New Hampshire Bulletin reported today that Elson Munson, president of the New Hampshire Association of Residential Care Homes, said he knows there was fear a mandate would decimate the workforce, but “it hasn’t been proven.”
Governor Sununu has used false claims and fear mongering about vaccination requirements to justify joining a politically motivated lawsuit against common sense public health measures. It’s clear that Sununu is making it harder for the state to increase vaccinations — New Hampshire’s vaccination rate continues to lag behind the rest of New England and our COVID cases are now the highest in the country per capita.
The predictions from a handful of health care workers and the governor have been loud, dire, and frequent: Health care facilities mandating COVID-19 vaccines for staff will see their workers leave in droves. The compliance numbers at hospitals and long-term care facilities suggest otherwise.
St. Joseph Hospital in Nashua, which mandated vaccination by Nov. 12 for its 1,500 workers, is at 100 percent compliance, said spokesman Timothy McMahon. The same is true among the 2,500 workers at Genesis HealthCare’s long-term care sites in New Hampshire, said spokeswoman Lori Mayer.
Elson Munson, president of the New Hampshire Association of Residential Care Homes, said he knows there was fear a mandate would decimate the workforce, but he hasn’t seen it.
Vaccine mandates aren’t the culprit to blame, health care leaders say. The pandemic exacerbated an existing worker shortage, they said. Battling a deadly virus for 21 months has taken its toll on health care workers, especially given that less than 65 percent of the population has sought a vaccine.
“I think there are a lot of people leaving health care,” said McMahon at St. Joseph Hospital. “But I think they are leaving for various reasons. I think we are seeing a ton of burnout among our nursing staff and our providers. And people who were close to retirement are saying, ‘Maybe now is the time.’”