Key Characteristics of Health Care Workers and Implications for COVID-19 Vaccination

The estimates of health care workers are based on KFF analysis of the 2019 American Community Survey (ACS), 1-year file. The ACS includes a 1% sample of the US population. The health care industry is defined as industry codes 5070 and 7970 through 8290 and does not include the childcare or vocational training industries. We include retail pharmacies (industry code 5070) as a healthcare industry. We identified people working specifically within hospital settings using industry code 8191 and 8192, which includes psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals, and people working specifically within long-term care settings using industry codes 8270 (skilled nursing facilities), 8290 (residential care facilities), and 8170 (home health care services). For more information see here. This analysis only includes those individuals who work in health care settings, so does not include health professionals working in other care settings, such as school nurses, and does not include individuals who provide other services to clients, such as social services. We exclude individuals in these industries who are not currently in the labor force. For information on how the healthcare workforce has changed during the course of the pandemic see here.

We identified health care workers who likely have direct patient contact by reviewing the occupation codes of workers in healthcare industries. We included workers providing direct clinical care, such as doctors, nurses, and aides; workers providing direct patient support, such as environmental and food staff; and first line supervisors and managers of these occupations. We excluded administrative and managerial staff who are likely able to work remotely and/or not expected to have direct patient contact through their job duties. It is possible that estimate includes some workers who normally have direct patient contact but who can work remotely, for example, through the use of telehealth.

Data Note

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