Survey: 25% of Home Care Workers Now Vaccinated as Associations, State Leaders Work to Overcome Challenges

Capitol Report | February 2021

To assist statewide vaccination efforts, HCA, the New York State Association of Health Care Providers (HCP) and LeadingAge New York partnered on a survey of home care providers statewide to gauge the current vaccination rate of workers in every region.

This recent survey, completed on February 17, received responses from approximately 156 home care providers employing 64,000 staff. We found that, on average, 25% of home care workers in New York State have received at least an initial vaccine dose amid ongoing national distribution and supply challenges.

Home care workers are a priority in the state’s vaccination effort. Yet they confront many unique access challenges beyond supply and distribution shortages affecting all New Yorkers, as we’ve extensively reported in recent editions of the Capitol Report.

Vaccine dispensing sites may be several miles or hours distant from the home where an aide, nurse, or therapist reports to duty providing services. Staff are often unable to reach these sites between patient care cases, given unpredictable appointment times. Home care employers, meanwhile, bear the added cost and complexity of arranging for alternative coverage if a worker’s vaccination appointment coincides with a case.

Vaccine hesitancy is also a serious concern. We urge home care providers to use evidence-based information, tools, and strategies for building vaccine acceptance among staff — and to make it a top priority. This includes ensuring that vaccination is a visible effort at their organizations and maintaining an open channel of communication so that individuals are heard about their concerns.

HCA and partner associations have been working with officials at all levels of government and the regional vaccination hubs to help overcome these and other vaccination challenges, including the development of more flexible options and dedicated site locations for the nearly 400,000 individuals serving the home care needs of New Yorkers.