CDC investigating deaths of immunized nursing home residents: report

CDC investigating deaths of immunized nursing home residents: report
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reportedly investigating the deaths of fully vaccinated nursing home patients in a Colorado county which has been hit especially hard by a recent surge in COVID-19. 

The Associated Press reported that a person involved in internal CDC deliberations, who requested anonymity to speak on the matter, said that federal investigators conducted a probe into delta variant outbreaks in nursing home facilities in Mesa County, Colo., in May and June. 

A CDC presentation slide provided to the AP revealed that in the Grand Junction area of the county, 16 fully vaccinated residents at a memory care facility were infected and four had died. 

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Those who died reportedly had a median age of 93 and were in hospice care, the AP noted. 

The CDC probe also reportedly found that at one facility, 42 percent of staff were not fully vaccinated, compared to just 8 percent of residents who had not gotten a shot.  

The overall infection rate for vaccinated residents and staff at the unnamed facility was recorded at 30 percent, with residents making up the majority of reported cases, according to the AP. 

The CDC has not yet publicly released the findings from its investigation, but the official who spoke to the AP said the agency will likely include the data in an upcoming Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 

The outbreaks come as about 59 percent of nursing home staff have been fully vaccinated nationally, similar to the national rate of fully vaccinated adults. However, that number is much lower than the 80 percent of facility residents who have been vaccinated against the virus. 

While senior citizens, especially those in nursing homes, were among the first to be eligible for vaccinations in the U.S., the reported CDC data shows that this population continues to be impacted by new outbreaks of the highly transmissible delta variant. 

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The Hill has reached out to the CDC for additional information on the reported probe. 

In total, roughly 89 percent of Americans aged 65 and older have received at least one COVID-19 shot, and about 80 percent are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC

Earlier this month, health officials in a western North Carolina county reported coronavirus outbreaks at two nursing homes, as well as a Boy Scout camp. 

While the U.K. government last month announced that it would be requiring nursing home staff to get vaccinated, the Biden administration has been hesitant to make such a move.