Lakeland nursing home makes the move to mandate vaccines

A Lakeland nursing home is giving its staffers an ultimatum, either get vaccinated against COVID-19 or find a new job.

"I think we may lose a couple of people," Matthew Thompson, an administrator, told FOX 13. "We have already had a few that have elected to leave and go somewhere else in light of us telling them we’re going to mandate it."

Right now, about 70% of the facilities' staffers are vaccinated. There is no hard and fast date when the rest have to be vaccinated, but they are being told to get the shots as quickly as possible.

Ralph Posey, a resident at Carpenters who is well into his 90s, says the new mandate is a great move.

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"To keep us safe," he said. "I don’t want that stuff, because I wouldn’t be around long if I had it."

Experts say the stakes are higher than ever before. The highly contagious and easily transmissible Delta variant is spreading quickly.

According to Lakeland Regional Medical Center, as of Monday there were 349 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, 36 in the ICU, and 23 on a ventilator.

Nationally, two out of three nursing home staffers have been vaccinated. In Florida, the percentage is much lower. Florida is second only to Louisiana for the fewest number of nursing home workers who have been given the shot.