AHCJ – Association of Health Care Journalists

03/05/2024 | News release | Distributed by Public on 03/05/2024 16:10

Parsing the deadly problem of low vaccination rates in nursing homes

Nearly four years into the pandemic, vaccine uptake for COVID, RSV and even influenza remain very low among nursing home residents and staff, according to recent CDC MMWR data. Some 600 nursing home residents died from COVID in the first two weeks of January alone. Meanwhile, flu cases remain high in parts of the U.S., and risk for RSV is still elevated among this vulnerable population.

Despite widespread availability of both the COVID-19 booster and new adult RSV vaccine, infection rates, hospitalizations and deaths continued to climb over the winter months. On top of that, COVID booster uptake by nursing home staff was only 23% at the end of 2023, CDC data shows. Why haven't more nursing home residents received the vaccine? And, what, if anything, can nursing homes or states do to ensure their residents and staff are protected?

In this webinar, AHCJ Health Beat Leader on Aging Liz Seegert talks with a geriatrician/researcher and the executive director of an organization that advocates for aging people about what the data tell us, the challenges of ensuring staff and residents receive the shots they need, overcoming persistent misinformation about the COVID and RSV vaccines, and the impact new federal staffing mandates may have on infection control and prevention.