Many Missouri nursing home workers are resisting being vaccinated against COVID-19 despite one-third of the deaths attributed to the disease in the state occurring among their patients and co-workers.
According to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Nursing Home Data webpage, only Florida and Louisiana have a lower percentage of nursing home workers vaccinated against COVID-19 than Missouri does.
The vaccination rate for nursing home staff in Missouri is 46.8%.
According to the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services (DHSS), there are 369 residential care and 268 assisted living facilities (ALFs) in the state.
The CMS collects reports from 522 federally subsidized residential care centers, or nursing homes, in Missouri. The data is documented in a massive spread sheet that lists vaccination rates for residents and staff of more than 15,000 nursing homes across the nation.
According to the CMS, as of July 25, 81.8% of nursing home residents and 59.3% of staff in the 15,000 nursing homes nationwide had been vaccinated.
Since the pandemic began last March, the agency reports 662,495 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among nursing home residents across the country with 133,513 deaths attributed to the disease.
The CMS documents that 593,451 of the nation’s nursing home and ALF workers have been diagnosed with the disease over the past 17 months.
Kansas eclipses Missouri vaccination rates for nursing home workers with 56% receiving inoculations, but still falls below the national average, according to the CMS.
The 48.6% vaccination rate among the state’s nursing home workers is higher than the state’s overall inoculation rate of 42.1% reported by DHSS Monday.
The DHSS reports Monday that 2.586 million Missourians have been fully vaccinated against the disease with nearly 90,000 doses administered between July 31-Aug. 6, an average of 12,775 a day.
During the same time span, more than 17,000 new and probable cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed, an average of about 2,400 a day, according to DHSS.
Since the pandemic began, 9,828 Missourians have died from the disease, the DHSS reports.
According to data compiled by Saint Louis University researchers, as of late July, 35.5% of those 9,800-plus deaths – more than 3,500 – occurred among nursing home residents and staff.
The American Association of Retired People (AARP), one the nation’s largest advocacy groups, has also been tracking infections and vaccinations at nursing homes on its Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard.
In a June 2021 AARP analysis, it determined 43.2% of Missouri nursing home workers were vaccinated, meaning despite the increase in case counts, hospitalizations and deaths, there hasn’t been a surge among staff to get inoculated.
AARP Public Policy Institute Senior Policy Adviser Ari Houser said last month low vaccination rates among nursing home staff is “making those residents vulnerable if the virus does get in” and could result in residents being isolated in lockdowns.
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