Tuesday, December 14

Most CA Nursing Homes Below Full COVID Vaccine Compliance

The majority of nursing homes in California have not reached full compliance with a statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandate for staff at long-term care facilities, and 68 nursing homes have not reported their vaccination rates at all. Learn more.

Despite a statewide mandate that requires nursing home staff to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by September 30, 2021, 861 nursing homes still have vaccination rates below 100%. In addition, 68 nursing homes have failed to report their staff vaccination rates altogether, according to the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) Long Term Care Justice and Advocacy division.

Only 21% (250) of the 1,179 nursing homes reporting to CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) reported full compliance with the vaccine mandate as of November 28, 2021.

One-hundred and seventy-one nursing homes had less than 90% of their staff vaccinated, two months after the deadline for compliance.

Vaccine refusal linked to nursing home deaths

The non-compliance with nursing home staff vaccination mandates in California comes as a recent New England Journal of Medicine study shows a relationship between staff vaccination rates and the transmission of COVID-19 and deaths among nursing home residents.

The study found that COVID-19 death rates in nursing homes with lower staff vaccination were 195% higher than predicted outcomes if the facilities had had higher vaccination rates.

It is unknown which steps the California Department of Health (CDPH) has taken to enforce the statewide mandate, which went into effect on October 1, 2021.

National mandate takes effect Jan. 2022

Similar resistance is being seen among nursing home staff in other states across the country as well, including Ohio, Colorado and Connecticut.

The Biden Administration issued a national mandate in August 2021 for nursing home staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition for those facilities to continue receiving federal Medicare and Medicaid funding. That mandate takes effect early in January 2022.

In December 2021, the Supreme Court declined to block a vaccine mandate for New York health care workers to remain in place, the third time the Court handed down such a decision. Similar rulings were already issued for health care workers in Maine and Massachusetts.

  • McGarry B.E., Barnett M.L., Grabowski D.C., Gandhi A.D., Letter to the Editor: Nursing Home Staff Vaccination and COVID-19 Outcomes; New England Journal of Medicine, December 8, 2021; DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc2115674

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