In what would appear to go beyond vaccine hesitancy to outright refusal, 62.5% of staff at thousands of skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) have turned down COVID-19 vaccines. Along with other healthcare workers in hospitals and other settings, long-term care staff were considered a top vaccine priority because they care for frail residents, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports.
“Among 11,460 SNFs, with at least one vaccination clinic conducted during the first month of the CDC Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program, a median of 77.8% of residents and 37.5% of staff members received ≥ 1 vaccine dose through the program,” the CDC reported. “SNFs that provide skilled nursing care and rehabilitation services for persons with complex medical needs have been documented settings of COVID-19 outbreaks. In addition, residents of [long-term care facilities] might be at increased risk for severe outcomes because of their advanced age or the presence of underlying chronic medical conditions.”1
Historically, long-term care workers have shunned influenza vaccinations, citing skepticism about the vaccine’s efficacy and claiming such canards as they do not get the flu.
The COVID-19 vaccine raises its own set of suspicions. “Frequently cited reasons for vaccine hesitancy included the perceived rapidity of vaccine development; inadequate information received about vaccine safety, side effects, and administration; and skepticism regarding the clinical trials and vaccine approval processes,” the CDC stated.1
- Gharpure R, Guo A, Bishnoi CK, et al. Early COVID-19 first-dose vaccination coverage among residents and staff members of skilled nursing facilities participating in the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program — United States, December 2020-January 2021. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2021;70:178-182.