Jul 16, 2021 - Health

Nursing homes have startlingly low COVID vaccination rates

Data: AARP; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Only slightly more than half of nursing home staff and about 78% of residents across the country have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to an AARP analysis.

Why it matters: The virus is continuing to spread among unvaccinated people, and unvaccinated nursing home residents are still at very high risk of severe infections or death.

Between the lines: "There is a strong relationship between vaccination rates of staff and vaccination rates of residents. This means that in states where the vaccination rate of staff is low, there are also more unvaccinated residents who are vulnerable to a resurgence of the virus," AARP writes.

  • As of mid-June, only one in five facilities had vaccinated at least 75% of their staff.

What we're watching: Calls for mandatory vaccinations for health care workers are growing.

  • "No vulnerable, immunocompromised patient — older adults, cancer and transplant patients, individuals with HIV/AIDS, and others — trying to beat their disease should have to worry that the people caring for them may be asymptomatic carriers of Covid-19," a trio of University of Pennsylvania academics argued this week in STAT.
  • "Mandating vaccination isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also the ethical thing to do."
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