As COVID-19 infections increase in long-term care facilities, plans are stepping up to give booster shots to the elderly who live there, likely by the end of September, officials said.
A total of 184 nursing home residents and 94 staff members contracted COVID-19 the week ending August 14, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported Wednesday.
That is compared to 128 residents and 74 staff in the week ending August 7, reflecting the spread of the highly infectious delta strain of COVID-19. The total number of nursing home cases hovered in the 1930s for most of June, but began to increase in July.
Healthcare workers and long-term care facilities were among the first to receive COVID-19 vaccines in December and January as the vaccines debuted.
The federal government recommends a booster shot starting eight months after an individual’s second dose, and the US Department of Health and Human Services will likely offer these doses starting the week of September 20, the spokesperson said. from the IDPH, Melaney Arnold.
“At that point, people who were fully immunized at the start of the immunization rollout, including many health care providers, nursing home residents and other elderly people, will likely be eligible for a reminder, ”she said.
“The HHS would also begin efforts to provide booster shots directly to residents of long-term care facilities at that time, given the vaccine distribution to this population early in the vaccine rollout and the increased risk. continued that COVID-19 poses them. “
Why do exceptional cases occur in long-term care facilities, given the high rate of vaccination?
Experts blamed the delta variant, the fact that residents of nursing homes live in close quarters and the elderly are more vulnerable to infections.
“With age, the immune response is blunted, so the success of the vaccine and the ability to generate a large antibody response declines a bit,” said Dr Mark Loafman, chair of the family and community medicine department of Cook County Health.
“That’s where the concept of a third dose comes in. There’s just a little less immunity as we get older, and it starts around 50 and continues every decade thereafter,” said Loafman.
Distributing vaccines to the public was initially problematic in Illinois, with a vaccine shortage, high demand, and long queues at mass sites and clinics.
Now, “Illinois has built a solid infrastructure of COVID-19 vaccine providers – pharmacies, local health departments, clinics, doctors, hospitals and more,” said Arnold. “Federal health officials have indicated that the booster dose will be given from eight months after an individual’s second dose, so not everyone will need to be vaccinated at the same time. We continue to monitor vaccinations and will increase plans as needed. “
About 85% of residents of long-term care facilities in the United States are fully vaccinated against COVID-19; however, staff rates are at 60.5%, according to the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Near their home, “tragically, only 26.3% of Illinois nursing homes have reached the 75% staff immunization threshold,” said the AARP state director of the. Illinois, Bob Gallo, in a statement. “On the other hand, residents of the EHPADs they care for are vaccinated at a rate of 83.8%.