Story at a glance
- Among more than 11,000 skilled nursing facilities that had at least one vaccination clinic between mid-December and mid-January, nearly 78 percent of residents received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
- That’s compared to almost 38 percent of staff.
- The study referred to previous polling data showing vaccine hesitancy among health care workers due to concerns about side effects and its efficacy.
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests a large number of nursing home workers are not receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
The CDC on Monday released national-level figures that found large gaps in vaccination efforts between residents living in long-term care facilities and the workers who care for them.
The report from the CDC found that among 11,460 skilled nursing facilities that had at least one vaccination clinic between the middle of December and mid-January, nearly 78 percent of residents received the vaccine, compared with about 38 percent of nursing staff.
“The lower percentage of staff members vaccinated raises concern about low coverage among a population at high risk for occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2,” the report said.
“The program achieved moderately high coverage among residents; however, continued development and implementation of focused communication and outreach strategies are needed to improve vaccination coverage among staff members in [skilled nursing facilities] and other long-term care settings,” the CDC report states.
Residents and staff in long-term care facilities were prioritized to receive vaccinations in the first phase of the rollout as such facilities have been hit hard over the course of the pandemic. The federal government entered into a partnership with drugstore chains CVS and Walgreens to carry out on-site vaccinations at nursing homes in nearly every state. The first-dose clinics have since wrapped up but the chains plan three visits to each location as the vaccine requires two shots several weeks apart.
CDC officials have said staffers are more likely to sign up for the shots during the second or third visits.
The study referred to previous polling data showing vaccine hesitancy among health care workers due to concerns about side effects and its efficacy. A survey from October showed nearly 40 percent of nurses said they were not confident a COVID-19 vaccine would be safe and effective and just 34 percent said they voluntarily received the vaccine. More recent data from last month indicated 28 percent of health care workers had a “desire to delay receipt of vaccine until they had more information about safety and effectiveness.”
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