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Nursing home industry responds to latest federal vaccination mandate

President Biden wants all nursing home staff vaccinated, or their facilities will lose federal funding.

LACKAWANNA COUNTY, Pa. — Lori Kelly from Roaring Brook Township was at Linwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Scranton to visit her mother when staff told her about the latest federal mandate on vaccinations.

President Biden is calling for all nursing home employees to be vaccinated, or their facilities will lose federal funding.

RELATED: Biden to require vaccines for nursing home staff

“They just said that they're too, they have to follow those regulations and that they have to make some changes here within the facility to be able to comply with that,” said Kelly.

Linwood is just one of more than 400 nursing homes and assisted living centers represented by the Pennsylvania Health Care Association, an organization that advocates for residents and the providers of care.

President and CEO Zach Shamberg says this mandate will only cause a loss of workers in an industry already struggling with staffing issues.

“If there are nursing home employees who don't want to be vaccinated, this announcement will drive them to other healthcare settings,” said Shamberg.

The PHCA says those other healthcare facilities also care for highly vulnerable people.

Shamberg wonders, why are nursing homes the only ones included in the mandate?

The PHCA says the fact that this mandate comes with the threat of a loss of federal funding is alarming.

“Rather than collaborate with providers, they resort to threats and punishment that ultimately to nothing increase vaccination acceptance rates,” said Shamberg.

The PHCA says the announcement should have included more on how this vaccine mandate will be implemented and when enforcement will start.