Nursing homes race to get residents boosted

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Nursing homes are scrambling to administer COVID-19 boosters to residents as cases are on the rise amid the omicron variant, The Hill reported Dec. 19.

Officials say around 60 percent of residents nationwide have received boosters thus far, with many outbreaks occurring at facilities that have yet to administer shots. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky presented new data last week that showed nursing home infections rising steadily since the beginning of November among residents who received primary vaccinations but not a booster. 

David Gifford, MD, CMO of the American Health Care Association, told The Hill he thinks the messaging on boosters as "recommended" contributed to the slower start.

"There was some waning immunity, but it wasn't like being [in] an unvaccinated state with a raging pandemic that was happening," Dr. Gifford said. "Omicron is changing the dynamic. The omicron spread is going to make it really urgent to get the boosters." 

Dr. Gifford told The Hill rollout so far has been ahead of initial vaccines, but they aren't being distributed through the federal pharmacy partnership with CVS and Walgreens. Instead, boosters are being administered through long-term care pharmacies, which some critics say has led to an uneven distribution across the nation.

 

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