On Friday, I told you that Northampton County Council has approved a $750 cash incentive for Gracedale workers who agree to a Covid-19 vaccine. That may have been the right call. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that nearly 72% of certified nursing assistants are hesitant to get a vaccine. This is based on a survey conducted by the Nat'l Ass'n of Health Care Assistants. Responses indicate that staffers feel as though they are guinea pigs.
This story notes that unnamed lawyers have advised this vaccine can be mandated. That, however, is contrary to advice provided to the county by its own lawyers. It is also contrary to the express language of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which provides that an employee has the option "to accept or refuse" a vaccine that has only been approved for emergency use.
The money for this will come from CARES Act money provided to the county-owned nursing home for "infection control." Unfortunately, this money is restricted to Gracedale and the county has no authority to use it to pay incentives to workers at the jail or juvenile justice center, where the risk of community spread is high.