Starting December 2020, Executive Order (EO 20-135) was passed for the first phase of the COVID-19 immunization program which allowed for healthcare personnel with direct patient contact to receive the vaccine. However, over the last few months it has come to our industry’s attention that our health workers have been turned away at vaccine locations across the state due to varying interpretations of the order. Care Team, an active member of HCAF (Home Care Association of Florida), participated in sending Governor DeSantis a letter asking for reconsideration of home health clinicians and caregivers as front-line health care workers and included in EO 20-135. Home health care workers provide services to patients who have complex service needs and who are at a higher risk for COVID-19, but may not be able to go to a vaccination site. Workers’ inability to access the vaccine has led to growing numbers of these patients declining home health services because clinicians and caregivers have not been vaccinated.
The letter was sent to Governor DeSantis on February 9th but HCAF has yet to receive a response. Our hope is to get all our health care workers higher priority status and vaccinated to prevent likelihood of further spreading and unnecessary hospitalizations so that we may be able to continue to be able to provide our patients with quality of care.