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AARP Sounds Alarm on COVID Vaccination Rates for Nursing Home Staff

Nursing Home Dashboard_ July Only 1 in 5 facilities has reached 75% staff vaccinated.jpg

The latest release of AARP’s Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard incorporates new data on vaccination rates among staff and residents, and finds that just 17% of Minnesota nursing homes meet an industry benchmark of having at least 75% of staff fully vaccinated.

Nationally, slightly more than half of health care workers in nursing homes were fully vaccinated (56%) and about 78% of residents were fully vaccinated as of the week ending June 20. Here in Minnesota, 88.4% of residents have been fully vaccinated and 62.7% of staff.

At the national level, COVID cases and deaths have dropped significantly from the previous dashboard release. Deaths of nursing home residents in Minnesota continue to decrease from what they were in the previous period, dropping from a rate of 0.05 to 0.01 per 100 residents. New infections among residents decreased, dropping slightly from .3 to .2 per 100 residents. New staff cases also dropped from .8 to .3 per 100.

While rates of cases and deaths have improved from the height of the pandemic, chronic problems revealed during the COVID-19 pandemic continue. The most recent data shows that 10.1% of nursing homes in Minnesota had an urgent need for PPE in the four-week period ending June 20. Also during this time period, 45.7% of nursing homes reported a shortage of nurses or aides.

 “While we are seeing lower numbers of cases and death than in previous reports, we need to continue monitoring the latest information on vaccination rates,” said Erin Parrish AARP Associate State Director of Advocacy and Outreach. “Residents and staff of nursing homes were devastated by this virus and we can’t let that happen again. We must remain vigilant and redouble efforts to encourage residents and staff in long-term care facilities to get a free COVID vaccine to protect themselves, their family and their community.

AARP recently submitted a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) recommending the federal government commit to working with states, long-term care facilities, and other entities to ensure that facilities can access and administer vaccines on a continuing basis for the foreseeable future. The letter also applauds CMS for publishing data on nursing home vaccinations and calls on the agency to offer that data in a more user-friendly format. AARP has repeatedly urged transparency and public reporting about the impact of COVID on nursing facilities.

AARP Minnesota continues to fight for reforms to protect nursing home residents and ensure long-term care facilities provide high-quality care.

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, to identify specific areas of concern at the national and state levels in a timely manner.

The complete Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard is available at www.aarp.org/nursinghomedashboard. For more information on how COVID is impacting nursing homes and AARP's advocacy on this issue, visit www.aarp.org/nursinghomes.

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