The issue of “COVID passports” has become a multi-faceted, deeply political debate throughout the world. Long-term care facility residents and their families are particularly concerned, as the health and safety of their families are at stake.
What are COVID passports?
COVID passport is the term used for businesses requiring people to have proof of having received the COVID vaccination before being admitted into stores, restaurants, etc.
According to University of Southern Florida Public Media, Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed legislation that prohibits businesses from requiring vaccinations. But he did carve out an exemption for the healthcare industry, including nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
While this is an important measure to protect residents, there are numerous questions and issues that continue to linger.
Some of the lingering issues with COVID vaccination requirements in Florida’s elder care facilities include:
- There is still no guarantee: The governors executive order exempts medical facilities from the general prohibition from requiring COVID passports for their employees. But it does not require medical facilities to require COVID passports. This means that each facility still has a degree of leeway to decide what to do about forcing its employees to require vaccination. Time will tell how these facilities will handle it. Medicare and Medicaid could get involved by not paying for care at facilities that don’t require employee vaccination.
- Visitors do not need the vaccination: It is unclear what impact the governor’s order will have on patients and visitors to nursing homes and other elder care facilities. Arguments are being made on both sides of the debate. Will long-term care facilities be allowed to block patients and un-vaccinated visitors?
- The vaccine is still not approved: Another issue complicating the entire debate is the fact that the COVID vaccine is still extremely new and as of yet it is not approved by the FDA.
These are some of the important issues surrounding vaccinations and the elder care industry in Florida. It is a complicated, heavily charged discussion.
If you have a loved one going into a nursing home, or if you are entering into a nursing home or similar care facility, make sure that you check with the facility about how they are handling COVID vaccinations. Do not enter a facility unless you are comfortable with how they handle this issue.
If you have contracted COVID-19 from a facility, talk to a lawyer immediately. The job of a nursing home is to keep you healthy and safe. You deserve to be compensated if they failed in this duty.