Nursing Homes Lag on Keeping Residents Up-to-Date on Covid Shots – No State is Above 50%

As Covid cases rise across the country and nursing home operators prepare for another ‘tripledemic’ with the flu, RSV and Covid hitting at once, only 2% of staff are up-to-date on Covid shots while the national average sits at 17% for residents, according to data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A report on the data compiled by Axios also highlighted certain states for their Covid vaccination records.

Nursing homes in Arizona and Arkansas currently lead the nation in lowest number of up-to-date Covid vaccination rates for residents, sitting at 6.2% and 9.8%, respectively.


Meanwhile, North and South Dakota were above the national average, with 42.9% and 47.3% of residents up-to-date on Covid shots, respectively. The Dakotas, along with Alaska and Hawaii, were the only states with more than 30% of residents updated on Covid shots.

Nursing homes could be a “harbinger of things to come for the general population,” the Axios report notes. There has already been a dramatic jump in Covid cases and deaths in August following a pattern of consistent increases over the summer, with deaths increasing by 80% compared to July. One in 47 residents contracted Covid during this time, compared to 1 in 100 in July.

Moreover, the aftermath of previous Covid waves have resulted in prolonged dependence on nursing home staff, even as the space contends with a historic staffing crisis.


Residents who survived Covid declined rapidly and for a much longer period, with exacerbated challenges around activities of daily living (ADLs) and brain function, according to a study conducted by Michigan Medicine, the University of Michigan’s academic medical center.

An updated version of the Covid vaccine was designed to protect against Omicron XBB.1.5, and strains descended from it.

The CDC believes the lag in Covid shots reflects a “troubled rollout” of updated shots, according to Axios, which slowed distribution to nursing homes. In October, there were widespread reports of dropped or limited vaccine appointments, with some waiting almost three weeks after federal officials cleared this season’s Covid vaccine.

It’s going to be up to operators to boost vaccination rates and control the spread of infections, with the federal government taking less of a central role in pandemic response.

Of note, the Biden administration lifted a vaccine mandate for health care workers and other requirements when the public health emergency ended in May.

Individuals up-to-date for the vaccine includes those who received a 2023-2024 updated vaccine or a bivalent vaccine in the past two months, according to the CDC.

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