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Many Nursing Home Residents Still Haven’t Received a COVID-19 Booster

AARP’s recent article entitled “1 in 3 Nursing Home Residents Still Haven’t Received a COVID-19 Booster, AARP Analysis Finds” states that nationally, the analysis found that 36% of U.S. nursing home residents and 64% of nursing home workers hadn’t received a COVID-19 booster as of February 20, 2022. These figures capture all nursing home residents and staff, including the 13% of residents and 14% of staff who are yet to complete an initial series of vaccinations, plus the nearly 25% of residents and half of staff who are fully vaccinated but have not gotten a booster shot.

AARP called on nursing homes to require COVID-19 booster shots for residents and staff in January. “We are so fortunate to have what we need to better protect nursing home residents and staff: vaccine boosters,” says Susan C. Reinhard, co-author of the analysis and director of the AARP Public Policy Institute. “They are plentiful and free. It is imperative to step up efforts to deliver them now.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted long-term care in the U.S., with more than 200,000 American COVID-19 deaths of residents or staff in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other senior care facilities, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Delays in receiving consent from resident representatives, long waits for pharmacy partners to provide on-site vaccinations and the lack of a cohesive federal campaign to bring boosters to nursing homes may also be having an effect. “In the beginning of the U.S. vaccine rollout, there was a lot of focus and effort to reach those in nursing homes,” says Jennifer Kates, senior vice president and director of global health and HIV policy at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. “We haven’t seen that same push on the booster side.”

The research showed that nursing homes nationwide continue to struggle with widespread shortages of direct care workers. That fact makes infection control and providing high-quality care to residents more difficult.

AARP’s analysis, conducted by the AARP Public Policy Institute and the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University in Ohio, draws primarily on data acquired from the Nursing Home COVID-19 Public File by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Most nursing homes are federally certified and required to submit data to the government each week.

Reference: AARP (March 17, 2022) “1 in 3 Nursing Home Residents Still Haven’t Received a COVID-19 Booster, AARP Analysis Finds”