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Nursing home providers are concerned the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s sudden decision to strengthen COVID-19 booster recommendations for seniors will be a challenge when admitting new residents. 

The CDC in late May announced that those 50 and older should receive a second booster at least four months after their first booster to be considered up to date with their shots. The change came after the agency noticed a steady increase in cases and hospitalizations among the group. 

On a recent LeadingAge call, many providers said they were concerned about having to quarantine new admissions, restricting them to their rooms for the first week after admission “simply because they are over the age of 50 and have not received a second booster yet,” according to Jodi Eyigor, the group’s director of nursing home quality and policy. 

“Not only does quarantine impact a resident’s well-being and assimilation into the nursing home community, but restriction to the resident’s room may also interfere with the resident’s ability to fully participate in services such as rehab therapy,” Eyigor wrote in a blog post Tuesday. 

Current federal data shows that about 81% of nursing home residents have received a single booster dose. The change in booster recommendations also impacts routine testing of staff aged 50 and older who haven’t received a second booster shot, she noted. 

“This asymptomatic screening testing is not covered by any payer source and while providers may receive test kits from state or federal programs, many [provider] members tell us that these allocations are not sufficient to cover all required testing,”  Eyigor said.