Investigation on Unvaccinated Workers and Increasing Nursing Home Cases Correspondence: 

Low vaccination rates among American nursing home workers are being linked to a recent rise in nursing home COVID cases and deaths, says an Associated Press article. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recently launched an investigation of facilities in areas of Colorado where staff vaccination rates are low and COVID numbers have spiked, leading health experts to worry that the success of COVID vaccines among the vulnerable elderly is being undermined by non-inoculated workers.

American nursing home staff vaccination rates sit at an average of 59% nationally, although in some states rates are as low as about 40%. Despite the dropping numbers of COVID infections and deaths among nursing home workers that resulted from the introduction of vaccinations back in January, recently there has been a rise in cases and deaths among workers. Since infected workers are considered a primary cause of outbreaks in long-term care facilities, concerns about protecting residents are growing, particularly as the highly contagious delta variant spreads across the nation.

Although symptoms are mild in most fully vaccinated persons who contract the delta variant, vaccinated elderly persons might be less protected against variants of the coronavirus. The concern has led some to consider the vaccination of nursing home staff a national emergency, including policy experts who are pressing the government to require vaccinations for workers. But no such move has yet been made by the Biden administration; as reluctance to vaccination remains high in certain areas of the country, the fear is that a vaccination mandate for nursing home staff might result in a host of workers quitting their jobs.

Several nursing homes in Mesa County, Colorado—an area considered to be a COVID hot spot—were part of the recent CDC investigation.  While the agency has yet to publicly release its investigation findings, a CDC slide anonymously released to the Associated Press describes fully vaccinated residents becoming infected and dying from the delta variant. In one Mesa County home experiencing outbreaks, only 58% of the staff were vaccinated.

States other than Colorado are experiencing nursing home outbreaks where staff vaccinations remain low, including in Indiana, where recently five fully-vaccinated residents became infected and one died in one facility where only 44% of workers were fully vaccinated.

According to the article,

the investigation on unvaccinated workers and increasing nursing home cases correspondence resulted in a fear of side effects and mistrust of nursing home management remaining as leading reasons behind workers’ vaccine reluctance.

Fighting to Keep Your Loved One Safe

As the pandemic persists, it is important to ensure the safety of the Philadelphia/PA or NJ nursing home where your loved one lives. At all times, Pennsylvania and New Jersey nursing homes are required to meet specific health and safety requirements and to protect the physical, mental, and psycho/social well-being of their residents. This includes ensuring adequate, quality staffing. Should you have concerns about a Pennsylvania or New Jersey nursing home during COVID-19, or if you suspect neglect, abuse, or fraud has occurred at the Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, or New Jersey nursing home where your loved one lives, please contact nursing home abuse attorney Brian P. Murphy to discover your legal rights and options.