Staffing Shortages and Vaccine Mandates
As a social work student, I am concerned for my fellow state agencies and other social service agencies that are losing staff by the minute. I am even more worried about the children that may be forgotten.
The vaccine mandate that was put into place by Governor Baker has left many agencies short staffed and some of these places of employment are very important and necessary.
The Department of Child & Family Services in particular was already short staffed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but now they are severely suffering. Caseloads for the remaining employees will nearly double, making it even harder to manage. The higher the case load, the more burnt-out employees are, and the less beneficial care and attention given to all clients. Situations like this is when accidents occur, or things get overlooked and these children and families are not being provided with the most attentive and thorough care.
More than five hundred state workers have been suspended or lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Yes, the vaccine has helped to lower the number of hospitalizations and cases, but individuals are still catching COVID-19 even while being vaccinated.
So, is it fair that we are forcing people against their beliefs and opinions to get it? It is not going to stop the spread completely, because as mentioned people are still testing positive and spreading it while being vaccinated.
Massachusetts can make this right; we can call on legislators to put through a more reasonable exemption process and allow these individuals to have a voice. Or allow alternate options like some agencies are doing. Specific local agencies are requiring unvaccinated individuals to test weekly if opting out of the vaccine. But other agencies are giving an ultimatum; vaccine or you are fired/let go from your position. With a lack of staff, it will make it harder for the Massachusetts population to be serviced adequately by social workers.
Abigail Tavares, Fairhaven, Social Work Student
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