AHCA/NCAL Renews Call For Residents, Staff In Long Term Care Facilities To Receive Prioritization For COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

COVID-19; Research and Data

Washington, D.C. – The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and assisted living communities across the country, reiterated its call today for long term care facilities to receive prioritization for distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine.

At a public listening session organized by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) convened to solicit comments on its Discussion Draft of the Preliminary Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine, AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson stressed the importance of getting a vaccine to long term care providers who have been on the front lines of the pandemic protecting one of our nation’s most vulnerable populations.

“Long term care was forgotten at the start of the pandemic, but we cannot be forgotten now,” Parkinson said. “Members of our country’s greatest generation and the brave men and women who keep them safe deserve our support. Ensuring long term care residents and staff are among the first to receive a vaccine when it becomes available will help mitigate the risk and prevent further deaths.”

NASEM’s final study will provide recommendations to the National Institutes for Health (NIH) and the Center for Disease (CDC) as they consider initial allocation once a vaccine is available for use. A recent Harris survey of more than 1,900 Americans revealed that the vast majority of Americans support providing the vaccine to high-risk individuals first. This includes seniors and those who care for them.

While long term care providers have taken unprecedented action to protect those in their care, research shows that a high rate of spread in a community is all but certain to lead to outbreaks in nursing homes and assisted living communities. “As long as the virus is a threat to the general public, it is a threat to our residents and staff,” Parkinson added. “If we can vaccinate long term care residents and caregivers first, they will be less at risk in the event we see a rise in cases within our communities.”

AHCA/NCAL will continue to work closely with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, NIH and CDC to ensure those who most urgently need the protection of a vaccine are able to access it as soon as possible.

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The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represents more than 14,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and development disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit www.ahcancal.org or www.ncal.org.