COVID-19 Vaccines for Long-term Care Facility Residents
CDC now recommends that people aged 65 years and older, residents in long-term care settings, and people aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 Vaccine at least 6 months after completing their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series. Other groups may receive a booster shot based on their individual risk and benefit. Learn more.
Residents of long-term care facilities ages 12 and older should get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Many long-term care facilities have residents who are older adults with underlying medical conditions. Residents often live closely together in residential care facilities, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and continuing care retirement communities. These medical conditions and living situations can make residents more likely to be infected by the virus that causes COVID-19, or to become seriously ill from it.
Children and adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities living in any type of group setting—including institutions and group homes—are considered residents of long-term care facilities. This means they are also more likely to be infected or become seriously ill from COVID-19.
Learn about COVID-19 Vaccination at Long-term Care Facilities
Residents and their families can ask a long-term care facility administrator about the current COVID-19 vaccination rate among their staff and residents.
- Nursing homes are required by the Centers for Medicare & 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 residential care communities may also be monitored by your state.
To learn more about vaccination and how to prevent COVID-19 at a long-term care facility, contact your state’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programexternal icon. This program gives education, advocacy, and support for residents and their families while receiving care in a long-term care facility.
Information About COVID-19 Vaccines for Long-term Care Facility 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 they need the vaccine’s protection.
- People can’t get COVID-19 from the vaccines.
- Depending on the kind of COVID-19 vaccine someone gets, they might need a second shot 3 or 4 weeks after their first shot.
- People with moderately to severely compromised immune systems should be considered for an additional dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna) after their first 2 doses.
- COVID-19 vaccines can help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19.
If your loved one is not able to ask questions or otherwise communicate with the long-term care facility staff, here’s what to know about consent for getting a COVID-19 vaccine:
- Consent for getting a COVID-19 vaccine will be given by long-term care facility residents (or the person appointed to make medical decisions on their behalf called a medical proxy) and documented in their charts per the facility’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 their choice; the United States does not require the consent for COVID-19 vaccination to be in writing.
- 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 United States, 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 long-term care facility 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.
After getting vaccinated, some people have side effects.
Here are some common side effects:
- Pain, redness, or swelling where you get your shot
- Muscle pain
These are normal signs that your body is building protection against the that causes COVID-19. Learn more about possible side effects and what to expect after getting your COVID-19 vaccine.
CDC has information that long-term care facilities 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, long-term care facilities 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.