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AARP data reveals only 18% of Iowa nursing homes achieve benchmark for vaccinated staff

Posted at 6:50 PM, Jul 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-20 10:55:33-04

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa. (KMTV) — Just 18% of nursing homes in Iowa meet the benchmark of having at least 75% of their staff fully vaccinated.

Pottawattamie County Public Health's Matt Wyant wants as many Iowans as possible to get vaccinated.

"It's still concerning when you look at where the hotspots are compared to where we are when it comes to vaccination rates. We aren't that far apart, really we just want to make sure people utilize it as a good reminder of our original mitigation methods," Wyant said.

In Iowa long-term care facilities 89% of residents and 60% of staff have been fully vaccinated. AARP Iowa Advocacy Director Anthony Carroll says it's not enough.

"Unfortunately, only 18% of nursing homes in Iowa meets that 75% staff vaccination threshold," Carroll said.

Carroll reflects on why few nursing homes meet the industry benchmark.

"We have work to do, it's simply we have work to do, continue to push for this," Carroll said. "We also have a different data point, pressure point, in Iowa that we have still increasing staffing shortages."

Wyant foresees the future of nursing homes from a health standpoint.

"I think you'll see masking happen for a long time after this, hand hygiene will always be a focus and the screening at the doors," Wyant said.

Carroll is pushing for individual, local advocacy. His hope — that this data will shed light on a significant problem.

"Make sure Iowans are empowered to look where their individual nursing homes are in terms of vaccination rates, not just for staff but for residents and push for more as they do on so many areas, whether it be quality or other areas they see as problems," Carroll said.

To visit the AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard, click here.

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