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AARP AARP States Pennsylvania Press

AARP Calls for Increased Boosters in Nursing Homes

Covid-19 Coronavirus Vaccine vials in a row macro close up

December 16, 2021

Teresa Osborne,, 717-237-6482

New AARP Analysis: Only 45.9% of Nursing Home Residents and 18.2% of Staff in Pennsylvania Have Received COVID-19 Booster 

Harrisburg, PA - Fewer than half of nursing home residents in Pennsylvania and only 18.2% of nursing home staff had received a COVID-19 booster as of mid-November, according to the latest data from AARP’s Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard.

With holiday gatherings on the horizon, these numbers are a cause for concern, as more than a year and a half into the pandemic, rates of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes are rising again nationally, along with increased community spread.  While case rates declined slightly compared to the same time period last month, in AARP’s dashboard, looking week to week, the number of cases increased each week during the four weeks ending November 21.

In Pennsylvania, resident cases decreased slightly from a rate of 1.98% in mid-October to 1.70% in mid-November. Staff cases also decreased slightly from a rate of 2.48% to 2.17% during this same time period. Nursing home resident deaths from coronavirus increased slightly from a rate of .30% in mid-October to .36% in mid-November.  The coronavirus has claimed the lives of more than 10,600 Pennsylvania nursing homes residents since January 2020.  

“COVID-19 continues to infiltrate America’s nursing homes with more than 1,500 new nursing home resident deaths nationally for the third consecutive month” said Bill Johnston-Walsh, State Director, AARP Pennsylvania, which serves more than 1.8 million members age 50 and older in Pennsylvania.  “Increasing vaccination rates—including boosters — among nursing home residents and staff is key to protecting our loved ones and getting the pandemic under control.”

“AARP calls on nursing homes, state and federal authorities, and others to increase access to and receipt of COVID-19 boosters for both nursing home staff and residents. As new variants emerge and vaccine immunity wanes, the low number of residents and staff who have received a booster creates an unacceptable level of risk since the disease spreads so easily in these environments,” Johnston-Walsh continued.

While the percentage of residents and staff who have received boosters remain low, rates of those fully vaccinated—those who have received two COVID-19 shots—continue to slowly rise, as of November 21. In Pennsylvania, 75.3% of nursing home staff are fully vaccinated, as are 88.4% of nursing home residents. Additionally, the number of facilities in Pennsylvania reporting a shortage of nurses or aides slightly decreased from a rate of 28.7% in mid-October to 27.5% in mid-November.

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, 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’s Care Compare website now offers information about vaccination rates within nursing homes and how they compare to state and national averages.

About AARP

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, or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol and @AARPadvocates, @AliadosAdelante on social media.

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