COVID-19 vaccination rates among U.S. nursing home workers continue to lag nationwide, with only 1 in 5 facilities hitting an industry target of getting 75 percent of their health care staff fully vaccinated, a new AARP analysis of government data shows. A handful of states have especially low vaccination rates among both staff and residents.
Nationally, 56 percent of nursing home workers are fully vaccinated. But in Louisiana, just 41 percent of workers are, representing the lowest staff vaccination rate of any state or territory, the analysis finds. In Florida, home to over 700 nursing homes, only 42 percent of workers are fully vaccinated.
Although a much higher share of nursing home residents are fully vaccinated nationwide — 78 percent — some states are reporting much lower rates. In Arizona, just 63 percent of residents — fewer than 2 in 3 — are fully vaccinated, the lowest of any state. In Florida, only 68 percent of residents are.
Low vaccine uptake among both staff and residents in nursing homes leaves residents highly vulnerable to a resurgence of the virus, experts say.
More than 650,000 nursing home residents have been infected with COVID-19 during the pandemic, and more than 130,000 have died from the virus. Nearly a third of the more than 600,000 U.S. COVID-19 deaths have been in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other long-term care settings. The virus has disproportionately killed older Americans; more than 80 percent of victims have been 65 or older.