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Nearly Half Of Indiana Nursing Home Workers Remain Unvaccinated

Vaccine COVID Pfizer

In recent weeks, the number COVID-19 administrations have begun to increase. (Courtesy of IU Health)

As the more contagious delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread across the country, public health officials are stressing the importance of vaccinations—especially among vulnerable populations.   

According to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, just over half of Indiana’s healthcare personnel working in nursing homes (51.3 percent) are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  

That number is more than the 47.4 percent vaccination rate among working aged Hoosiers.

The news comes as Indiana plans to include individual facility vaccination rates on its public, statewide dashboard. 

Throughout the pandemic, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have been acutely affected by the virus. With cases and deaths peaking early last winter, more than 6,300 residents of long-term care facilities have died from COVID-19. 

Indiana’s vaccination rates in nursing homes reflect national averages. Further, a slightly greater share of nursing home workers are vaccinated when compared to the average Indiana worker. 

Zach Cattell is president of the Indiana Healthcare Association, a trade group that represents nursing and extended living facilities. He believes individual conversations are key to encouraging all Hoosiers to get vaccinated. Just yesterday, one of his employees encouraged a group of nursing home staff employees. 

"Through provision of information and just talking with them one-on-one, maybe a new person that they hadn't heard from before, six of them volunteered to get vaccinated," he said. 

Other advocacy groups stress the importance of staying vigilant.  "We need to continue monitoring the latest information on vaccination rates," said Sarah Waddle, AARP Indiana's state director in a statement. "Residents and staff of nursing homes were devasted by this virus and we can't let it happen again."

Both Waddle and Cattell reiterated all currently avaialble vaccines were both safe and effective.

With more than 80 percent of facility residents fully vaccinated, the daily average of new cases and deaths have remained in the single digits since March. However, fears remain over the more contagious delta variant. 

This post has been updated.

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