Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) are calling on Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra to help boost COVID-19 vaccinations for Nevada seniors. Nevada has the lowest vaccination rate for nursing home residents in the country, at 61%. Cortez Masto and Rosen are urging HHS to focus federal resources on addressing vaccine hesitancy among this group of Nevadans, which has been especially hard hit by the virus.
“Across the US we are facing new challenges in the form of variants that put communities with high concentrations of unvaccinated persons at even greater risk for serious COVID-19 illness,” wrote the Senators. “This makes our efforts to boost vaccination rates all the more imperative, especially among vulnerable populations like seniors and communities of color.
“As of July 14, 2021, only 61% of Nevada nursing home residents were reported as fully vaccinated – the lowest rate of any state,” continued the Senators. “As you know well, nursing homes have been susceptible to COVID-19 outbreaks that seriously endanger the health of both residents and staff. Since the start of the pandemic, more than half of nursing home residents and staff across Nevada tested positive for COVID-19, resulting in more than 500 deaths across the state. The combination of low vaccination rates, high rates of COVID-19 in Nevada, and the emergence of variants could create a uniquely dangerous situation for our state’s nursing homes.”
Senators Cortez Masto and Rosen have worked to ensure that all Nevadans can get vaccinated and to spotlight the needs of vulnerable nursing home residents. As part of the American Rescue Plan, Senators Cortez Masto and Rosen helped secure $650 million for support to nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities for infection control and vaccination efforts. The Cortez Masto- and Rosen-supported American Rescue Plan also included $8.6 billion to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for vaccine confidence, information, and education activities as well as providing community health centers funding for activities including COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration, testing, contact tracing, mitigation, workforce enhancement, and community outreach and education.
Full text of the letter is available here.