New Survey Finds 94 Percent Increase in Willingness of Long Term Care Staff to Take COVID-19 Vaccine

Like members of the public, long term care staff are becoming more confident in the COVID-19 vaccines. A new survey by OnShift reveals that between December 2020 and March 2021, willingness of long term care staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine increased by 94 percent, and plans to decline decreased by 41 percent. 

The survey also examined the reasons behind vaccination decisions and employee perceptions of the value of vaccine education. Additional key findings include: 

  • The respondents’ primary reasons for vaccination are to help prevent infection in family and friends (30 percent), to avoid getting COVID-19 themselves (13 percent) and to put an end to community lockdowns, gathering restrictions and/or virtual schooling (12 percent). 
  • The respondents’ primary reasons for declining vaccination include concerns that the vaccine is too new (26 percent) and potential safety and side effects (23 percent). Another 10 percent believe getting the vaccine is unnecessary because they have already had COVID-19. 
  • Sixty-two percent of respondents expressed their willingness to take the vaccine in the March 2021 survey, up from 32 percent in December 2020. 
The results of the OnShift survey follow the launch of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living’s (AHCA/NCAL) #GetVaccinated campaign. With support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the campaign now has a dedicated website – getvaccinated.us – to help educate and encourage caregivers and staff at long term care facilities to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The website includes credible information from medical professionals, public health officials and scientists to help answer common questions about the vaccines among staff members and other individuals. The campaign also aims to help the nursing home industry reach its nationwide goal to get 75 percent of all nursing home staff vaccinated by June 30, 2021. 

In response to the survey, Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL said, “This growing acceptance for the vaccines among long term care staff is extremely encouraging and echoes what we have heard from providers across the country who saw increasing uptake with each round of on-site vaccination clinics. Now, we need public health officials to ensure long term care is prioritized for a steady, ongoing allocation of vaccines for new hires and admissions as well as current residents and staff who have since decided to get the vaccine.” 

The vaccines have made a remarkable impact on long term care facilities thus far. A recent AHCA/NCAL report showed an 82 percent decline in the number of new COVID cases in nursing homes since late December when cases were at their peak. Now, long term care facilities are seeing the lowest number of weekly cases since the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) started tracking back in May 2020. 

AHCA/NCAL remains focused on ensuring that as many residents and staff get vaccinated as possible. They are partnering with other advocacy and professional organizations as part of the #GetVaccinated campaign, to help expand its reach, share materials and educate more long term care staff across the country on the vaccines’ safety and importance. 

ABOUT AHCA/NCAL 
The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represents more than 14,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and development disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit www.ahcancal.org​.