A key struggle in rolling out coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines could be getting several million initial doses to the nation’s massive and far-flung long-term care workforce.
Vaccinating those workers, who can unknowingly spread the virus to fragile residents, is considered an important step in controlling the pandemic. Long-term care facilities in the US have been ravaged by the virus, accounting for 8% of cases but 40% of deaths as of October 8, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Early in the fall some experts in long-term care and immunization predicted significant hurdles in vaccinating long-term care workers. After all, staff turnover at nursing homes has been high for decades, and long-term care facilities typically possess fewer resources than hospitals for staff education about vaccine risks and benefits.