COVID-19 has killed more than 460,000 Americans. In all likelihood, you know someone who has died from the killer virus, or you know someone who has lost a beloved person to COVID-19. Either way, the virus is getting closer to everyone’s lives now that it has spread throughout the country, infiltrating even the most rural parts of the United States, in the South, Midwest, and West.

Vaccinations for COVID-19 have been going into people’s arms since December. However, the rollout of the immunization was slow because of a lack of a federal plan. There was also a snag when vaccinators learned that some health care workers are refusing to get the vaccine despite seeing how deadly the virus is. By skipping the vaccine, people who come into contact with you are at risk of contracting the virus. Get the vaccine to protect yourself and those you love.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that just 38 percent of workers in nursing homes agreed to get the vaccination. “Residents and staff members in long-term care facilities, particularly skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), are at increased risk for COVID-19–associated morbidity and mortality and have been prioritized for the first phase of vaccination in the United States.”

Because those who work in these facilities are more likely to die from COVID-19 than those who do not work in these high-risk locations, logic would dictate that these workers who be running to get the vaccination. However, the data does not support that assumption. Instead, only a minority of long-term care workers are getting vaccinated against the virus responsible for the global pandemic.

The CDC reported, “A total of 713,909 residents and 582,104 staff members received ≥1 COVID-19 vaccine doses.§§ Among 11,376 (99.3%) of these facilities with available resident census data, a median estimated 77.8% (IQR = 61.3%–93.1%) of residents were vaccinated; and among 11,134 (97.2%) facilities with available staff member payroll data, a median of 37.5% (IQR = 23.2%–56.8%) of staff members were vaccinated.”

Did you read that? According to data, between 23.5 and 56.8 percent of staff members at these high-risk facilities received the vaccination. What does that mean?

One possibility is that the report underestimated how many staff members received the vaccination because “only staff members vaccinated on-site through the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program were included in these staff member vaccination estimates.” Many health care workers went to other clinics in their states to receive the potentially life-saving vaccination.

There are also many staff members who work multiple shifts at these facilities or hold numerous jobs across several facilities. This means that the worker might have been vaccinated at another location and not have needed it at the location that reported the data.

The CDC hopes to improve vaccination numbers among health care workers by sharing more information about how effective these vaccinations truly are. Currently, any person who does get one of the approved vaccinations has more than a 90 percent chance of avoiding the virus. Those numbers are very good. You’re much less likely to get sick and die if you get the vaccine.

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