WASHINGTON—A new analysis from AARP shows that the number of nursing home staff who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 rose sharply from mid-September to mid-October. AARP’s Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard found that staff vaccination rates increased from 67% to 74% in the four weeks ending October 17 – the largest monthly increase since the dashboard began tracking vaccination rates in June. Seven states report that more than 90% of direct care staff in nursing homes are vaccinated, showing that high vaccination rates are achievable. Under a new federal rule published last week, all health care workers in facilities that participate in Medicare and Medicaid must be fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022. The number of nursing home residents who are fully vaccinated increased by 1% in the same time period, to a total of 86% nationally.
AARP’s dashboard also shows an increase in the number of facilities reporting a shortage of nurses or aides. Staffing shortages rose to 30% in this time period – the highest rate since CMS began reporting data in spring 2020. Nationally, the rate of COVID-19 cases declined by one-quarter for residents and one-third for staff, however 18 states reported increases in resident cases and 13 saw increases in staff cases. Death rates remained constant compared to the previous four-week period in AARP’s dashboard, with more than 2,000 nursing home residents dying of COVID-19 for the second consecutive month.
“It is encouraging to see a large increase in the number of nursing home staff who are vaccinated. However, nearly half a million direct care staff remain unvaccinated as of mid-October,” said Nancy A. LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer. “More than a year and a half into the pandemic, COVID-19 continues to spread in nursing homes. We must ensure that all residents and staff are vaccinated to bring the pandemic under control.” AARP has called on nursing facilities to require vaccination.
The AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard analyzes federally reported data in four-week periods going back to June 1, 2020. Using this data, the AARP Public Policy Institute, in collaboration with the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University in Ohio, created the dashboard to provide snapshots of the virus’ infiltration into nursing homes and impact on nursing home residents and staff, with the goal of identifying specific areas of concern at the national and state levels in a timely manner.
The full Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard is available at www.aarp.org/nursinghomedashboard, and an AARP story about this month’s data is available here. For more information on how coronavirus is impacting nursing homes and AARP’s advocacy on this issue, visit www.aarp.org/nursinghomes. Medicare.gov’s Care Compare website now offers information about vaccination rates within nursing homes and how they compare to state and national averages.
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org, www.aarp.org/espanol or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol and @AARPadvocates, @AliadosAdelante on social media.