Unvaccinated seniors are 49 times more likely to be hospitalized after contracting COVID-19; nursing homes are experiencing a major staffing crisis; major Alzheimer’s groups plan to meet with federal officials and lawmakers to protest the CMS drug proposal.
Unvaccinated seniors nearly 50 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19
According to CDC data, unvaccinated adults ages 65 and older are 49 times more likely to be hospitalized after contracting COVID-19, compared to other seniors who are fully vaccinated and received a booster dose. , reported The Washington Post. In a slightly younger age bracket, unvaccinated adults aged 50 to 64 were still 44 times more likely than those given a booster shot to be admitted to hospital. Compared to elderly people who have been vaccinated but have not received a booster, those who are not vaccinated are still 17 times more likely to be hospitalized for the virus.
Nursing home staffing shortages worsen as COVID-19 cases rise
Additional CDC data shows more than 40,000 nursing home residents across the country have tested positive for COVID-19, with 988 reported deaths, NPR reported. In the first week of January, cases among staff hit a record high of more than 67,000 but started to slowly decline last week. With slow uptake of vaccines and boosters in these settings, in addition to increasingly difficult staff-resident ratios, many nursing assistants are reporting “moral distress” and burnout and some facilities are limiting admissions or close their wings. For example, despite New Jersey’s 1:8 staffing ratio mandate, the state complained that a single nursing assistant cared for more than 50 residents at a time.
Alzheimer’s patient groups protest drug coverage proposal
In response to CMS’s announcement that it will only cover Alzheimer’s drugs, such as Biogen’s Aduhelm, for Medicare patients enrolled in clinical trials, Alzheimer’s patient groups are planning publicity and lobbying to protest, Reuters reported. Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation, Alzheimer’s Association and UsAgainstAlzheimer’s argue that the proposal severely limits access to treatment and plan to meet with federal officials and lawmakers. Medicare currently has a 30-day comment period open and will make a final decision by April 11.