The Biden administration is forwarding lists of senior facilities with zero people vaccinated to state regulators for review and possible penalties.
State and federal health officials are frustrated that thousands of seniors have landed in the hospital with Covid-19 since the holidays — despite the widespread availability of a vaccine designed to prevent exactly that.
Less than 40 percent of people over 65 have taken the updated booster shot that became available in the fall, according to the CDC, leaving millions with little protection against the latest strain sweeping the U.S.
The paltry uptake among seniors, who remain most at risk of dying from the virus, underscores the Biden administration’s challenge of beating back a third winter wave when so many Americans are either unaware or uninterested in another shot.
The Biden administration — which is growing frustrated with the low vaccination rates in nursing homes — is forwarding lists of senior facilities with zero people vaccinated to state regulators for review and possible penalties, which could include fines. The administration is also contacting governors to push them to boost their immunization rates.
Meanwhile, Covid-19 cases are surging across the country. More than 470,000 new infections were reported over the last week, a 50 percent increase since Thanksgiving, and nearly 3,200 people over age 70 are being admitted to the hospital with Covid-19 on average every day.
The surge, fueled, in part, by holiday gatherings and the new, rapidly transmissible variant XBB.1.5 are concerning enough to White House officials that they plan to make a renewed push in the coming month targeted at older Americans who they view as particularly vulnerable to the virus after a six-week push leading up to New Year’s produced modest results.