TUESDAY, Dec. 14, 2021 (HealthDay News) — As COVID-19 cases surge nationwide, only about half of fully vaccinated nursing home residents have received a vaccine booster dose, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

Research shows that the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines may decrease over time, especially among people aged 65 years and older, and early studies suggest that boosters are needed in vaccinated people to maintain adequate protection against the omicron variant.

On Sept. 24, the CDC recommended that all eligible seniors and residents in long-term care facilities be given a COVID-19 vaccine booster. However, by the end of October, only about a quarter of fully vaccinated nursing home residents had received a booster, and the rate now stands at 51 percent, even though 80 percent are eligible for a booster, new CDC data show. According to the latest CDC data, 87 percent of U.S. nursing home residents are fully vaccinated compared with 60 percent of the general population.

Earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government worked with major pharmacy chains to get vaccinations to nursing home residents nationwide, but a similar program is not in place for boosters. Compounding concerns are the relatively low rates of vaccination among nursing home staff.

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