HealthDay News — Medicare is requiring nursing homes to report rates of COVID-19 vaccinations for both patients and staff, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.
Officials hope the requirement will be an incentive for these facilities to keep giving shots even as the pandemic wanes. “We’re hoping to drive increased vaccination rates among residents and staff, as well as transparency for residents and their families,” Lee Fleisher, M.D., chief medical officer at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, told the AP.
The agency should begin getting vaccination numbers from nursing homes in the next few weeks and plans to post them on the internet so people can access the details. Nursing homes are currently required to report COVID-19 cases and deaths but not vaccinations, according to the AP.
The pandemic has taken an especially high toll on those in long-term care facilities. Although these facilities accounted for about 1 percent of the population, they had one in three COVID-19-related deaths, according to estimates from the COVID Tracking Project.
Cases and deaths have dropped off after the government began an effort to vaccinate residents and staff. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that nearly 3 million nursing home residents and staffers are now fully vaccinated. Also, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are allowing family visits again after a year in lockdown, the AP reported.