COVID-19 Vaccines for Long-term Care Residents
Residents of long-term care (LTC) settings ages 5 years and older are recommended to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Many LTC settings, such as residential care, assisted living, nursing homes, and continuing care retirement communities provide care to older adults with underlying medical conditions, often living closely together. These medical conditions and living situations can make residents more likely to be infected by the virus that causes COVID-19 and to become seriously ill from COVID-19.
Children and adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities living in any type of congregate setting, including intermediate care facilities and group homes, are also considered LTC residents. This means they are also more likely to be infected or become seriously ill from COVID-19.
Additional examples of LTC settings can be found on the Administration for Community Living’s web page about COVID-19 vaccine access in long-term care settingsexternal icon.
Residents and their families can ask a LTC provider about the current COVID-19 vaccination rate among their staff and residents.
- Nursing homes are required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to monitor weekly COVID-19 vaccination data for residents and healthcare personnel through CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network. CMS posts updated information about individual nursing homes, including resident and staff vaccination rates, on the CMS COVID-19 Nursing Home Dataexternal icon.
- Resident and staff vaccination data from assisted living and other LTC settings may be monitored by your state.
Information About COVID-19 Vaccines for Long-term Care Residents and Family Members
You can help protect yourself and the people around you by getting a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.
- COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective—especially against becoming seriously ill—and very important for older adults and people with underlying health problems like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and obesity.
- People with these conditions are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19, and need the vaccine’s protection.
- You can’t get COVID-19 from COVID-19 vaccines.
- COVID-19 vaccines can help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19.
- Depending on the kind of COVID-19 vaccine someone gets, they might need a second shot 3 or 4 weeks after their first shot.
- Moderately to severely immunocompromised people who are 12 years and older and received a Pfizer-BioNTech primary series or 18 years and older and received a Moderna primary series should receive an additional primary dose of the same vaccine at least 28 days after their second dose.
- Booster shots are available for everyone ages 18 years and older who is fully vaccinated.
If your loved one is not able to ask questions or otherwise communicate with the LTC staff, here’s what to know about consent for getting a COVID-19 vaccine:
- Consent or assent for a COVID-19 vaccine will be given by LTC residents (or people appointed to make medical decisions on their behalf called a medical proxy) and documented in their charts per the provider’s standard practice.
- Residents who receive a COVID-19 vaccine (or their medical proxy) will also receive a fact sheet before vaccination. The fact sheet explains the risks and benefits of COVID-19 vaccination.
- Some COVID-19 vaccination providers may require written, email, or verbal consent from recipients before getting vaccinated. This is at the provider’s discretion; written consent is not required by federal law for COVID-19 vaccination in the United States (U.S.).
- Residents (or their medical proxies) will receive a vaccination record card or printout that tells them which COVID-19 vaccine they received and the date they received it. This should also be recorded in their medical chart.
The federal government is providing the vaccine free of charge to all people living in the U.S., regardless of their immigration or health insurance status.
How to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine
To get a COVID-19 vaccine, you or your family member can take these steps:
- Talk with the LTC staff to see if you can get vaccinated on site.
- Ask a family member or friend to help you schedule a vaccination appointment if you can’t get vaccinated on site. Visit vaccines.gov to find providers near you.
- If you have additional questions about how to get a COVID-19 vaccine, talk with your healthcare provider.
Find a COVID-19 vaccine: Search vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you.
Learn more about how the federal government, LTC providers, and jurisdictions are ensuring access to COVID-19 vaccines in LTC settings.
After getting vaccinated, some people have side effects.
Common side effects include:
- Pain, redness, or swelling where you get your shot
- Muscle pain
These are normal signs that your body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. Learn more about possible side effects and what to expect after getting your COVID-19 vaccine.
CDC has information that LTC providers can use to evaluate and manage residents’ signs and symptoms after vaccination.
After vaccination, everyone should continue to follow guidance to protect themselves and others.
For your safety and the safety of those around you, LTC providers may recommend fully vaccinated residents continue to take precautions such as wearing a mask or getting tested for COVID-19.
Family members should follow facility guidance for visits and wear masks indoors.
- Key Things to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines
- Myths and Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines
- Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination
- Who Is Eligible for a COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shot?
- Information about Medicare and COVID-19 Vaccineexternal icon
- For Healthcare Workers: Post-Vaccination Considerations for Residents