News Release

COVID-19 Cases and Deaths Among Nursing Home Residents Have Declined Markedly Following the Introduction of Vaccines

The number of residents contracting and dying of COVID-19 in nursing homes has declined markedly following the introduction of vaccination efforts in long-term care facilities, a KFF analysis finds.

Resident deaths from COVID-19 in nursing homes have decreased by two-thirds (66%) since vaccination efforts began in late December. New cases of the novel coronavirus among residents have fallen even more sharply, by 83 percent.

At the same time, deaths from COVID-19 in the general population (excluding nursing home residents) have spiked by 61 percent in the weeks since December 20. New cases have declined in recent weeks, but by only 45 percent, far less than the decline seen among nursing home residents.

The new analysis compares trends in new COVID-19 cases and deaths among nursing facility residents with trends in new COVID-19 cases and deaths among non-nursing facility residents through February 7, 2021.

It’s still unclear how much the decline in cases and deaths can be attributed directly to the vaccine, the analysis finds, but the timing suggests that vaccination efforts are having an impact and improving the safety of long-term care settings. As of February 22, 2021, at least 4.5 million residents and staff in long-term care facilities had received one or more dose of vaccine, including over 2 million residents and staff who had received both doses.

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The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.