Healthcare

Roughly one-third of long-term care staff vaccinated through federal program: CDC

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Only 37 percent of staff in long-term care facilities have been vaccinated against COVID-19 through a federal partnership with local pharmacies, according to an analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), raising further concerns about low vaccination rates among those who work with people at high risk for serious illness or death from the virus.

The CDC analyzed data from nearly 11,500 long-term care facilities that had at least one vaccination clinic between Dec. 18 and Jan. 17, the first month of the program in which CVS, Walgreens and other pharmacies provide on-site vaccinations to staff and residents.

In that time period, 78 percent of residents and 37.5 percent of staff were vaccinated through the program, amounting to 1 million people, according to the CDC analysis released Monday.

The low vaccination rates among staff are concerning because of their high risk for exposure to COVID-19 through their jobs, the authors wrote.

Staff also work with a population that has been hardest hit by the pandemic. Deaths in long-term care facilities make up about one quarter of all COVID-19 deaths.

The authors of the analysis noted that low vaccination rates among long-term care staff have also been an issue with the flu vaccine. The authors cited surveys suggesting fears about the perceived rapidity of vaccine development; inadequate information about vaccine safety, side effects and administration and skepticism about the vaccine approval process.

High staff member turnover, members working in multiple facilities, and limited resources for staff outreach and education could also account for low vaccination rates, the authors wrote.

Some staff may have been vaccinated through other programs and some facilities may have staggered doses among staff, the authors noted.

“Use of focused communication messages to increase COVID-19 vaccine confidence in health care personnel and specifically among [long-term care facility] staff members, including messages regarding the documented safety and efficacy of authorized COVID-19 vaccines, might help improve vaccination acceptance and coverage,” the authors wrote.

Tags CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus COVID-19 long-term care facilities Pandemic vaccinations
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