Baker Administration Announces Vaccine Mandate to Protect Older Adults in Skilled Nursing Facilities

The Baker Administration announced plans to implement a vaccine mandate for long-term care (LTC) staff to strengthen infection control and protect vulnerable residents. COVID-19 vaccination is the most effective method for preventing infection and serious illness from the virus, and staff at long-term care facilities and other health care providers serving vulnerable populations are critical in efforts to protect older residents.

There are 378 skilled nursing facilities (Level I-III), as well as the two Soldiers’ Homes in Massachusetts.  As of August 2nd, 155 facilities had less than 75% of their staff fully vaccinated.

Long Term Care Staff Vaccine Mandate:

Skilled Nursing Facilities (Level I-III), as well as the two Soldiers’ Homes (collectively “LTC providers”) will be required to ensure all personnel are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. A Public Health Order will be issued for non-state operated skilled nursing facilities and emergency regulations will be filed for the two state operated soldiers’ homes.

Personnel includes all individuals employed directly or by contract by the LTC provider. All unvaccinated personnel are to receive a first dose of a two-dose series by September 1, 2021; and be fully vaccinated by October 10, 2021. To ensure compliance, beginning October 10, 2021, the Department of Public Health (DPH) will enforce this mandate for provider operated Skilled Nursing Homes.

The requirement will provide exemptions for those with medical restrictions or sincerely held religious beliefs that prevent them from receiving vaccination.