Vaccine Hesitancy

Nursing home staff hesitancy quickly emerged as a key problem in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in long-term care. However, vaccine participation among caregivers in the nursing home industry workers has substantially increased. Software firm OnShift polled the industry.

About 62% of post-acute and senior living workers are willing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, up from 32%.

About 39% in December did not plan to take the shot. This number dropped to 23% by March.

53% of workers already received the vaccines. 9% would as soon as they could — and 7% were waiting for now.

Among the remaining holdouts in March, 26% said the vaccines were too new, while 23% were worried about safety and side effects. About 10% indicated that they already had contracted COVID-19 and didn’t think they needed the shots, while just 5% were opposed to the general concept of vaccination.

“This growing acceptance for the vaccines among long term care staff is extremely encouraging and echoes what we have heard from providers across the country who saw increasing uptake with each round of on-site vaccination clinics,” Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of top nursing home lobbying and trade group the American Health Care Association (AHCA) said in a statement. “Now, we need public health officials to ensure long term care is prioritized for a steady, ongoing allocation of vaccines for new hires and admissions as well as current residents and staff who have since decided to get the vaccine.”

Dr. Sunil Pandya is the new chief medical director for nursing home chain SavaSeniorCare. Pandya emphasized the importance of peer-to-peer discussions. Pandya said in a recent interview with SNN:

“They don’t have to listen to administrative people like myself or scientific [arguments]; they can just listen to each other and say, ‘You know, this wasn’t so bad.”