State health officials remain concerned that, at last check, only 55 percent of nursing home workers have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says a national effort is underway in the long term care industry to encourage staff to get vaccinated:

“Certainly unions have a role to play, the employers themselves as well as leaders from the different communities or interest groups that these staff come from.”

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota President Jamie Gulley says the union is “strongly recommending” its members be vaccinated and has had a number of informational forums:

“We’re gonna keep strongly advocating for our members to learn about it, to understand how safe it is, to understand the importance of the vaccine for their own safety, for their families and for the residents.”

Gulley says vaccination rates of union nursing home workers are “much higher” than the 55-percent statewide average.