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Reimagine Everything: AARP Sounds Alarm on Covid Vaccination Rates for Nursing Home Staff

By August 6, 2021September 1st, 2021No Comments

Ron Mori

The latest release of AARP’s Nursing Home Covid-19 Dashboard incorporates new data on vaccination rates among staff and residents, as well as finds that just one in five facilities meets the threshold of having at least 75 percent of its staff fully vaccinated.

Nationally, slightly more than half of health care workers in nursing homes were fully vaccinated (56.7 percent), and about 78 percent of residents were fully vaccinated as of the week ending June 20. Vaccination rates vary widely from state to state, ranging from less than half of staff (41 percent) in Louisiana to a high of 84 percent in Hawaii.

AARP’s analysis found that more nursing homes reported an urgent need for PPE in the last month, increasing from 3.6 percent-5 percent of facilities, and 24 percent of facilities reported a staffing shortage—a problem that has persisted throughout the pandemic.

One in five nursing homes meets industry benchmark for staff vaccinations.

“More than 184,000 residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have died from Covid-19,” said Nancy A. LeaMond, AARP executive VP and chief advocacy and engagement officer. “This national tragedy cannot be repeated. With cases once again rising across the country and considering the highly contagious Delta variant, every effort must be made to protect vulnerable nursing home residents. AARP encourages residents and staff in long-term care facilities to get a free Covid vaccine to protect yourself, your family and your community.”

AARP sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently, urging the agency not to become complacent regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, “especially for vulnerable populations like LTC (long-term care) facility residents,” and strongly recommending “that the federal government commit to working with states, long-term care facilities and other entities, as needed, to ensure that those facilities can access and administer vaccines on a continuing basis for the foreseeable future.”

The letter applauds CMS for publishing data on nursing home vaccinations and calls on the agency to offer that data in a more user-friendly format.

AARP has repeatedly urged transparency and public reporting about the impact of Covid on residents and staff in nursing facilities. AARP continues to fight for you and your loved ones, and reports like our Nursing Home Covid-19 Dashboard bring much-needed data to the conversation.

Data from May 24-June 20 reports vaccination data for the first time. Key findings include:

  • Nationally, about 78 percent of nursing home residents have been fully vaccinated. At the state level, the percentage ranges from a low of 63 percent in Arizona to a high of 95 percent in Vermont.
  • Nationally, about 56 percent of health care staff in nursing homes have been fully vaccinated. At the state level, the percentage ranges from a low of 41 percent in Louisiana to a high of 84 percent in Hawaii.

There is a strong relationship between vaccination rates of staff and vaccination rates of residents. This means that in states where the vaccination rate of staff is low, there are also more unvaccinated residents who are vulnerable to a resurgence of the virus.

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 For more information on how Covid is impacting nursing homes and AARP’s advocacy on this issue, visit

Ron Mori is a member of the Washington, D.C., JACL chapter and manager of community, states and national affairs — multicultural leadership for AARP.