Buchanan Wants Hospice Workers Vaccinated

Todays News

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING THURSDAY FEB 4, 2021

While nurses and doctors dealing daily with coronavirus patients were first in line to receive COVID-19 vaccines, hospice care workers have often lacked access. U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, said that needs to change.

The congressman on Wednesday sent a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis asking for a higher priority to be placed on these health care professionals. “Given the critical role that these hardworking men and women play in taking care of more than 140,000 patients throughout the state, we must ensure that these vital caregivers are able to be vaccinated as soon as possible,” Buchanan wrote.

It’s a sentiment appreciated by Sarasota hospice providers. “Thank you Congressman for your never ending support of the hospice mission,” tweeted Tidewell Hospice President and CEO Jonathan Fleece after Buchanan sent the letter.

The only groups currently eligible to receive the vaccine in Florida to date are health professionals and individuals age 65 and older. Buchanan’s office said that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services do deem hospice workers as essential frontline health professionals. But because many do not work in a centralized location it’s been difficult for many to get in line for vaccines. Many shift work locations between medical facilities, assisted living and nursing homes, and even individuals’ personal residences.

“According to the Florida Hospice and Palliative Care Association, a majority of our state’s 20,000 frontline hospice workers have been unable to receive the vaccine to date,” Buchanan wrote. “This is not only concerning for the safety of these critical care workers, their loved ones and the already vulnerable patients that they serve, but could also serve as a significant barrier to essential health care services for those in need.”

Through Wednesday at 12:05 p.m., a total of 27,635 individuals in Manatee County and 42,661 in Sarasota County had received at least one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, according to the Florida Department of Health. Through Wednesday morning, Manatee County health officials reported 28,948 had been infected with COVID-19, as well as 25,064 in Sarasota County. In the two-county area, a total of 1,141 individuals have died from COVID-19-related causes.

Image courtesy Pixabay.

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