AARP report: FL has one of the lowest rates nationwide for vaccinations among nursing home staff

Two coronavirus deaths are reported at a senior living facility in Broward County that houses more than 200 people. Credit: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz/Getty Images

With health officials and the Biden administration continuing to push Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19, Florida ranks second worst in the nation for vaccination rates among staff at nursing homes, according to a new report by AARP.

Data from the AARP Public Policy Institute, collaborating with the Scripps Gerontology Center at Ohio’s Miami University, created a dashboard for tracking data related to COVID at nursing homes in four-week snapshots. And the “Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard” now includes vaccination rates for staff and residents.

In the most recent period ending June 20, data show that only 41.8 percent of staff at Florida’s nursing homes are fully vaccinated. The highest vaccine rate among nursing home workers is in Hawaii, with 83.9 percent; followed by Vermont, with 76.6 percent. California had the third highest vaccine rates in that category, with 76.3 percent.

Many Southern states have low vaccine rates among nursing home staff, according to the report. For instance, Louisiana has the lowest rate, with 41.1 percent of health care staff at nursing homes receiving the vaccine.

Other states with low vaccines among nursing home staff include Mississippi (42.2 percent), Missouri (43.2 percent) and Georgia (44 percent).

Meanwhile, increasing trust in the vaccines among nursing home workers is a priority for Florida Health Care Association, said spokesperson Kristen Knapp. The group supports several nursing centers and long-term care facilities throughout the state.

Knapp told the Florida Phoenix in an email Monday that FHCA will “continue to remain focused on ensuring as many people as possible are made safe through the effective use of vaccines” and that they are “supporting them by providing facts about the vaccine and educational materials.”

“Since the vaccines became available, we knew that long-term care employees would have legitimate questions and concerns,” Knapp said. “Each person is unique, and it is important for us to understand their perspective and gain their trust.”

“Our members continue to listen to staff members and speak with them directly about the importance of getting vaccinated,” Knapp added.

Other categories in AARP’s dashboard include total resident deaths, cases among staff and residents, personal protective equipment shortages and staffing shortages.