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Joyce Endee

County Commissioners urge Sununu to reject vaccine mandates


September 23, 2021
OSSIPEE — President Joe Biden announced on Sept. 9 that he asked the Department of Labor to issue an emergency rule requiring all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require any unvaccinated workers to produce a negative Covid test at least once a week. That includes health care providers.

Employees working in health care facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement will also be required to be vaccinated.

"Keeping nursing home residents and staff safe is our priority. The data are clear that higher levels of staff vaccination are linked to fewer outbreaks among residents, many of whom are at an increased risk of infection, hospitalization, or death," said Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which has the authority to set health and safety requirements.

In a letter to Gov. Chris Sununu, sent on Sept. 13, the Carroll County Commissioners said they were "gravely concerned about the impact of President Biden's Covid vaccine mandates" and asked that the governor "take all actions necessary to prevent a vaccine mandate from going into effect."

Their concern was that at a time when staffing shortages are prevalent throughout the state, such a mandate would lead to departure of some unvaccinated staff at the Mountain View Community nursing home, thus exacerbating "the staff shortages we already face in our county nursing home.

Vice Chairman Mathew Plache, speaking at the Sept. 16 Commission meeting, commented that it has encouraged vaccination and that he is not against vaccination, but reiterated the fear of losing staff.

The letter, focused solely on the vaccination requirements, signed by Chairman Terry McCarthy, Plache and Kimberly Tessari, concludes that staff "do not deserve to have their right to informed consent trampled in support of President Biden's quest for universal vaccination."

An examination of the Medicare and Medicaid related lines of the county's budget shows that the fiscal impact of the potential loss of that revenue, should the county refuse to comply, could come to $6,669,653. That is a substantial part of the $17,645,223 raised from property taxes in the last budget and could effectively raise everyone's county portion of property taxes by an estimated 38 percent.

Resistance to the mandate from the county or the state appears to be on a collision course with federal emergency policy.

Salmon Press
Martin Lord & Osman
Varney Smith
Garnett HIll
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