DELAWARE COUNTY, Ohio — When it comes to getting the COVID-19 vaccine, health care workers inside Willow-Brook at Delaware Run are rolling up their sleeves to get the vaccine, including the director of housekeeping.
“We have a lot of residents here we want to protect,” said Kristy King, the director of Housekeeping at the long-term care facility.
Jacob Coy and Megan Rumbalski, both personal care assistants, also volunteered to get their shots.
“I want to get it so people can be reunited. So they can hug again, so they can grieve again in a good way, to gather again," Coy said.
“I feel it's my duty as a health care professional to protect the people I care and work for,” Rumbalski said.
Coy and Rumbalski suffered from the virus in 2020 and both said they had horrible experiences.
In Ohio, these nursing home employees are in the minority.
State figures show only 40% of skilled nursing home workers have agreed to get the vaccine.
“I don't understand why people are hesitating. I've had a few questions and after doing some research it seems like the proper thing to do,” said King.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, 4,690 Ohioans in long-term care facilities have died from COVID-19.
According to the CDC website, “All COVID-19 vaccines were tested in clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people to make sure they meet safety standards and protect adults of different races, ethnicities, and ages, including adults over the age of 65, participated in the clinical trials. There were no serious safety concerns. The most common side effects were pain at the injection site and signs and symptoms like fever and chills. After a review of all the available information, ACIP and CDC agreed the lifesaving benefits of COVID-19 vaccination for LTCF (long-terms care facilities) residents outweigh the risks of possible side effects.”
10TV reporter Kevin Landers asked workers if they believe vaccines should mandated for nursing home workers.
“I believe that they should. It makes me sad. I mean in a perfect world I would hope that everyone would want to get a vaccine, but at the same time I understand that everyone has a right to their body and what they choose to put in it,” Rumbalski said.
“It is new, and I think people are afraid that it's so new. I think it's the unknown which is why people are hesitant,” Coy said.
While the state is not mandating the shot, nursing homes have the power to mandate them if they choose.
In an attempt to get more nursing home workers to get the vaccine and calm their concerns, the state is holding virtual sessions for nursing homes to explain the science behind the shot.
The state says about 85 to 90% of nursing home residents have agreed to get the vaccine.