So far, only 38 percent of staffers at nursing homes have accepted COVID-19 vaccines when offered, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday.
Due to their vulnerability, nursing home residents and health care workers have been among the first people to receive the vaccine, and "these findings show we have a lot of work to do to increase confidence and also really understand the barriers to vaccination amongst the population," Dr. Radhika Gharpure, lead author of the CDC report, told USA Today.
The report looked at vaccination rates at more than 11,000 long-term care facilities in the U.S. between Dec. 18 and Jan. 17. While the vaccination numbers were low for staffers, 78 percent of residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Under a deal reached with CVS and Walgreens during the Trump administration, the pharmacies are sending technicians to participating nursing homes three times in order to vaccinate as many people as possible.
Earlier polling data showed that some nursing home employees said they were concerned about side effects, while others did not want to be among the first group to get vaccinated. Several facilities have been working to educate workers about the vaccine. At Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, nearly two-thirds of employees said late last year they did not want to get the vaccine, but infectious disease expert Dr. William Schaffner told USA Today there was a push to share facts with staffers, and that "moved the needle." Now, 75 percent have said they will get the vaccine.