A little over half of the staff members at Oak Hill, Monroe County's senior care campus, are willing to submit to a covid-19 vaccine when it becomes available, Oak Hill Administrator Brian Koontz told the county board on Dec. 21.
That guesstimate reflects what Koontz suggests is a generational divide. "The older employees as well as those in their teens and 20s are saying they will take it (the two-step vaccine)," he said. "But staff members who are in their 30s, 40s and 50s don't want to take it."
Koontz didn't speculate as to why individuals of certain ages are more receptive to being vaccinated for coronavirus, but said, "I would like for it to be more like 80 percent."
Staff are already required to obtain flu shots.
The point may, however, be moot. Koontz said Oak Hill employees' collective-bargaining unit has already contacted him and taken the position that their members cannot be forced to take the vaccine.
Distribution of two covid-19 vaccines began in mid-December nationally and is expected to become available locally at the time of this writing. Vaccinations have, according to media reports, been largely uneventful and presumably successful though there have been some reports of a few minor negative physical reactions.
During the second week of December, one Oak Hill resident tested positive for the coronavirus. That resident did not exhibit serious symptoms and has been placed in the facility's covid-care ward.
Koontz also reported that the Illinois Department of Public Health has issued a mandate that requires all nursing home residents to be tested twice weekly. At Oak Hill, the tests will be administered on Mondays and Thursdays.The Monday tests will be of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) variety, considered to be the most accurate, whereas the Thursday tests will be "rapid tests."