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DeWine Offers Certification Plan But Not Mandate For COVID Vaccines In Nursing Homes

A sign praising staff hangs on the entrance to a nursing home in Columbus.
Karen Kasler
A sign praising staff hangs on the entrance to a nursing home in Columbus.

4,856 Ohioans in nursing homes and long term care facilities have died of COVID-19, well over half of the state’s overall COVID death total. Gov. Mike DeWine has said the virus has often been brought in by staff, and yet a huge number of those workers has not taken the vaccine.

An estimated 60 percent of nursing home and long-term care staffers haven’t gotten COVID vaccines.

But in an interview for this coming weekend's "The State of Ohio", DeWine said he won’t mandate vaccines for those workers.

Instead, he’ll be encouraging those vaccines with a new certification he’ll be announcing showing how many people in each facility have been vaccinated. 

“Certification in the sense just to tell people X number of people in this nursing home, they've hit the goal," DeWine said. "And I think someone making a decision about a nursing home, they want to know that."

The head of the group that represents many of Ohio's nursing homes and long term care facilities has said misinformation and fear are keeping workers from considering the vaccine. Pete Van Runkle with the Ohio Health Care Association said, “They see on social media that the government is putting microchips in you or the government is putting a vaccine out there that hasn’t been properly studied."

But DeWine said instead of a mandate, "I think education always works better. People making their own decisions works better. We don't mandate that with other vaccines. We give people options in regard to other vaccines.”

DeWine said after another round of nursing home vaccines starting Friday, the state will move on to people over 75 and then move down the age groups. So he said younger nursing home staff will be encouraged to get the vaccine now or be forced to wait.  



Contact Karen at 614-578-6375 or at
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