News Charlie Baker announces plan to mandate COVID-19 vaccine for Massachusetts caregivers

Gov. Charlie Baker announced on Sept. 1 that he plans to require all staff in Massachusetts rest homes, assisted living residences and hospice programs, as well as home care workers who provide in-home direct care, to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in the next two months.

The expanded mandate, which is subject to approval from the state Public Health Council,  builds on a public health order issued last month, requiring long-term care workers in skilled nursing facilities and soldiers’ homes to get fully vaccinated by Oct. 10.

The state Executive Office of Health and Human Services said in a statement that the new mandate would apply both to workers directly employed by facilities and to contractors who regularly enter facilities, and that it is being implemented in order to “protect older adults against COVID-19.” Affected workers must get vaccinated by Oct. 31, unless they qualify for a medical or religious exemption.

The Baker administration said that up to 100,000 home care workers will need to comply with the new requirement. That includes individuals providing in-home, direct care employed by a state-contracted or state-subcontracted agency, and it also applies to independent, non-agency home care workers contracted with the state such as personal care attendants in the MassHealth program, according to the State House News Service.

More information is available at the state website.

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