A nursing home resident receives a booster shot
Credit: Morsa Images/Getty Images Plus

Nursing home COVID-19 booster vaccination data is now being posted online by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which called the move an effort to “improve transparency” for consumers.

The agency announced on Wednesday that data for both nursing home residents and staff are being displayed publicly on its Care Compare website. It will include facility-level rates, as well as state and national averages for comparison.

The move comes just a few weeks after CMS began posting nursing home staff turnover rates and weekend staffing levels on the site.

“By posting these data, CMS is highlighting this information for the public and other stakeholders to help increase the number of nursing home residents and staff who obtain a booster shot,” the agency said in a statement Wednesday. 

Current CMS data shows 97.4% of residents have been vaccinated against the disease, while 82.1% of staff have received their COVID-19 vaccine shots. The agency added that current booster shot rates for nursing home residents are comparable to the national average for adults over 65, while shots administered to nursing home staff lags behind the national average for those over 18.

The point of emphasis in the CMS announcement could indicate a major change regarding boosters is possible, according to Jodi Eyigor, LeadingAge’s director of nursing home quality & policy. She noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated its language to consider individuals up-to-date with vaccinations if they have received all shots and boosters for which they are eligible.

“Knowing that CDC has already moved towards that language,” Eyigor said during a Wednesday call, “… and the language in the rule on the vaccine mandate that (CMS) had to put this vaccine mandate in place because staff were not getting vaccinated on their own, it does make me a little curious to see what comes in the future, if booster rates will be absorbed in the requirement.”

“We know that right now, they are not,” she added. “However, with the way that things are kind of falling together, I think that we should keep in mind that could become a requirement in the future and continue to do the good work that you’re doing of encouraging staff to get boosted.”