6 Vaccinated Indiana Nursing Home Residents Get COVID, Less Than Half of Staff Inoculated.
The Associated Press reported that six completely vaccinated residents at an Indiana nursing home contracted COVID-19, despite the fact that less than half of the staff had been inoculated against the virus.
COVID-19 claimed the lives of seven people in Howard County, including one who was fully vaccinated, according to Howard County Health Officer Dr. Emily Backer. The five other completely vaccinated inmates were among 11 individuals who contracted COVID-19 at the facility during an outbreak that began in mid-June, according to officials. According to Backer, 44% of the personnel is fully vaccinated.
She said the staff’s vaccination rate was “lower than we’d like. But at this point, they can’t force them.”
According to Medicare, roughly 59 percent of nursing home employees in the United States are immunized against COVID-19, compared to 80 percent of residents.
Lagging vaccination rates among nursing home staff are being linked to a national increase in COVID-19 infections and deaths at senior facilities in July, and are at the center of a federal investigation in a hard-hit Colorado location where disease detectives found many workers were not inoculated.
The CDC’s assessment of facilities in the Grand Junction, Colorado, area has raised fears among public health specialists that advances in protecting vulnerable elderly with vaccines may be jeopardized when the more aggressive delta variety spreads across the country.
The percentage of nursing care employees who have had their vaccinations is about the same as the overall percentage of fully immunized persons. Vaccination rates in some states are as low as 40 percent.
Some policy experts are asking the government to close the gap by requiring nursing home employees to get immunizations, which the Biden administration has been hesitant to implement. Nursing home operators are concerned that such a move will backfire, leading to many personnel with vaccine reservations quitting their positions.
To be sure, the vast majority of fully vaccinated people who become infected with the delta variant suffer only mild symptoms.
But “older adults may not respond fully to the vaccine and there’s enormous risk of someone coming in with the virus,” said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, vice dean for public health practice at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
“Vaccinating workers in nursing homes is a national emergency because the delta variant is a threat even to those already vaccinated,” he said.