By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming is ranked below the national average when it comes to nursing home staff who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, a new AARP report said.
Around 48.2% of skilled nursing home staff in Wyoming are fully vaccinated against the virus, lower than the national average of 56%.
According to the AARP report, this places Wyoming 37th in the nation for nursing home staff vaccination rates.
Louisiana has the nation’s lowest vaccination rates among skilled nursing home staff at 41%, while Hawaii has the nation’s top rate at 83.9%.
Although vaccination rates for nursing home staff in Wyoming is low, the COVID-19 vaccination rate for nursing home residents is above the national average.
Almost 81% of nursing home residents in Wyoming are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, which is just above the national average of 78%.
Vermont has the nation’s top vaccination rate at 94.6%, followed by Maine (90.5%), New Hampshire (90.4%), North Dakota (90.2) and South Dakota (89.9%) rounding out the top five.
Arizona (63.3%), Nevada (65.8%), and Georgia (68.1%) have the nation’s lowest vaccination rates for nursing home residents.
The nursing home death rate (COVID deaths per 100 residents) in Wyoming also dropped for the four weeks ending June 20 from the four weeks ending April 18, from 0.9% to 0.6%. Nursing home resident coronavirus cases per 100 residents also fell to 0.2 % over the same period of time.
However, Wyoming did see an uptick in the percent of nursing homes who self-reported an urgent need for personal protective equipment, 5% compared to 3.6% in May.
Staffing shortages in Wyoming nursing homes remained nearly static from May through June, with 23.5% of all facilities reporting a shortage in nurses or aides.
“More than 184,000 residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have died from COVID-19,” sNancy A. LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer, said. “This national tragedy cannot be repeated. With cases once again rising across the country and considering the highly contagious Delta variant, every effort must be made to protect vulnerable nursing home residents. AARP encourages residents and staff in long-term care facilities to get a free COVID vaccine to protect yourself, your family and your community.”