WARRINGTON, Pa. - As vaccine rollout continues, there's controversy over mandatory vaccinations at a Bucks County nursing home. Less than half of the staff at Neshaminy Manor chose not to receive the vaccine when it was offered to them and that could cost them their jobs.
COVID-19 hasn’t been gentle at Neshaminy Manor, the county-run nursing home in Warrington. Nearly a third of the residents have died from complications of COVID-19.
"We lost 90 of our residents to COVID-19 over the course of the past 11 months. We just can’t take that risk anymore and let anybody bring anything to infect the residents," Bucks County Commissioner Diane Ellis-Marseglia said.
When the vaccine was available to health care workers across the country, the county decided to mandate its 492 employees to get the vaccine, but when they offered it, less than half showed up to receive it.
"The commissioners and officials are taking calls constantly from people who are looking for the vaccine and want the vaccine so we assumed there would be no problem," Ellis-Marseglia added.
But the union representing the employees said there was. Some workers they say were fearful and asked the union to say so to the county.
"We sent a letter telling them that we can bargain over this before they just take the position that they have a mandate or terminate them or lay them off," AFSCME union rep Tom Tosti said.
The union says information about the vaccine might encourage more employees to get it, but for now, he doesn’t want to see workers lose their jobs.
"Educate them on the safety of it and how it can help them in the workplace," Tosti said.
The county will make exceptions for religious or medical reasons.
For the latest local news, sports and weather, download the FOX 29 News app.
DOWNLOAD: FOX 29 NEWS APP