Within the United States, 58.6% of staff working in nursing homes are vaccinated. That figure, however, does not indicate how the vaccination rates vary among health care workers within those facilities. A new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that those with the most resident contact – nurses and nurse aides – had the lowest vaccination coverage. Furthermore, it concluded that the disparities in vaccination rates among staff in long-term care facilities likely mirror social disparities that are found in the surrounding communities.
The CDC analyzed COVID-19 vaccination data submitted from March 1 – April 4, 2021, of health care workers in long-term care facilities. The study showed a 30 percentage-point difference in vaccination rates between physicians/advanced practice providers (75.1%) and nurse aides (45.6%). Vaccination rates for registered nurses and licensed practical/vocational nurses were 56.7%.
It was found that facilities with the lower vaccination levels were in “socially vulnerable” areas. The study suggested that these findings highlight health equity issues and potential risks. Nurse aides are disproportionately women, racial and ethnic minorities, and are more likely to have underlying health conditions that make adverse outcomes from COVID-19 more likely. The CDC study suggests a potential remedy would be to focus vaccination promotion and outreach efforts on socially vulnerable and marginalized groups and communities.
August 5, 2021 – C. St. John
 CMS. COVID-19 Nursing Home Data. (Updated July 18, 2021). Available at: https://data.cms.gov/covid-19/covid-19-nursing-home-data
 Lee JT, Althomsons SP, Wu H, et al. Disparities in COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage Among Health Care Personnel Working in Long-Term Care Facilities, by Job Category, National Healthcare Safety Network — United States, March 2021. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2021;70:1036–1039. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7030a2external icon