N.B. seniors' advocate wants more information on homes with less than 50 per cent of staff vaccinated
Cecile Cassista wants to see seniors in long-term care homes feel safe as things try to return to normal. But the seniors' advocate says that can't happen unless everyone around them is vaccinated.
"I've heard from family members, that they want the home that their loved ones are in, everyone there needs to be vaccinated," she said.
Long-term care staff were some of the first employees to be offered a vaccine in New Brunswick.
According to the Department of Social Development, 14 of 547 homes have less than 50 per cent of their staff vaccinated.
Those homes are spread across the province, broken down by health zone:
- Zone 1: 3
- Zone 2: 1
- Zone 3: 2
- Zone 4: 4
- Zone 5: 0
- Zone 6: 2
- Zone 7: 2
In total, 80.3 per cent of all staff are either vaccinated or intend to get a shot.
Cassista wants the province to release the names of the 14 homes.
"I understand that they have to protect the rights of certain things, but I really think they need to move forward and disclose it and come out and say, 'You either have to get vaccinated or you can't work in these homes,'" she said. "That's the bottom line."
The province has sought a legal opinion on if they could make it mandatory for staff.
But today, Adam Bowie, a media relations officer with the province, said in a statement:
"We believe that vaccination rates in long-term care facilities are trending in the right direction, and we will continue working with these facilities to grow these numbers."
He also said the department will continue to report the rate of vaccination at long-term care facilities, but in accordance with the privacy act.
The president of the N.B. Council of Nursing homes said they believe it's important to reach out to the employers and workers at the 14 homes, and ask about the barriers that have stopped them from getting vaccinated.