2021 Fall GAPNA Newsletter Volume 40 Number 3

New Studies to Boost COVID-19 Vaccination Rates Among LTC Workers

Lagging COVID-19 vaccination rates among LTC workers have become an increasing source of concern as immunization rates have slowed nationwide. Two new studies were approved for nearly $11 million in funding by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

Researchers will compare ways to boost COVID-19 vaccination rates and reduce high rates of vaccine hesitancy among workers in skilled nursing facilities and other long-term care (LTC) settings for older adults and other vulnerable populations PCORI is an independent nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010.

Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers, and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed healthcare decisions.

One of the studies conducted by a research team at Dartmouth College will recruit about 1,800 direct-care workers nationwide to compare two different active approaches to vaccine education and current efforts..

A third of participants will attend virtual, group, dialogue-based webinars co-facilitated by peer leaders selected by the National Association of Health Care Assistants and expert facilitators and content specialists.

Another third will visit a website where they can view and discuss curated social media content nominated by other direct-care workers that focuses on COVID-19 vaccine concerns and educational information.

To ascertain the effects of the interventions, another third of participants will be encouraged to review COVID-19 vaccine information on the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) website, an enhanced way in which they usually receive information.

The second study led by a research team based at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute aims to recruit 6,000 workers at 30 LTC facilities in Washington state and 30 facilities in Georgia.

Staff at a third of the facilities in each state will be randomly assigned to receive the full intervention, which entails LTC workers collaborating with the research team to design educational vaccine information materials tailored to diverse audiences and identify best ways to provide that information to other workers; they will also serve as peer advocates.

Staff leaders at another third of facilities will receive these peer-designed materials along with help from the research team on how to use them to share vaccine information with their staffs.

The final third of the facilities will receive information in a usual way, namely getting CDC information about the COVID-19 vaccine and help from the study team on how to provide that information to staff.