Long Term Care Residents Placed at Highest Priority for Vaccine

​​On Tuesday, December 1, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to include long term care residents at the highest level of priority for the first distributions of a COVID-19 vaccine. This includes residents of skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities and other residential care settings.  

Long term care residents are now included with health care workers in Phase 1a. This is extremely important because going into the meeting, our residents were Phase 1b, just after health care workers. View the materials that were discussed during the ACIP meeting. 

Unfortunately, the reality is that there will not be enough doses in the initial batches of vaccine for everyone in the top tier to be vaccinated immediately. Pfizer projects they can produce only 6.5 million initial doses of their vaccine. There are at least 21 million health care workers and three million long term care residents.  

In addition, states are not required to follow these guidelines. It will now be up to each state to decide how to allocate its limited supply of vaccine. AHCA/NCAL and our state affiliates are hopeful that the evidence supporting the ACIP decision will help make the case to governors that our residents and employees should be first to receive the vaccine. If governors prioritize long term care settings, they can cut the overall COVID-19 death rate in their state by almost half in the next 60 days. Our argument is strengthened by this decision, but our work is not done. AHCA/NCAL will keep fighting for our residents and staff and won’t stop until everyone in our buildings has access to the vaccine.