Last week, a letter was sent to the National Governors Association (NGA) and state governors from the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) urging states to first distribute the COVID vaccine to all long term care facilities, nursing homes and assisted living communities, before any other groups included on the first Phase 1a distribution list.
Key excerpts outlined in the letter on why long term care facilities should receive vaccine first include:
Prioritizing long term care residents and staffers for the vaccine is crucial given the fact that more than 100,000 long term care residents have died from this virus in the U.S. and our nursing homes are now experiencing the worst outbreak of new cases since last spring with more than 2,000 residents succumbing to this virus each week.
Given the asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spread of this virus combined with the outbreak of community spread across the U.S., we are extremely hopeful this vaccine will literally be a lifesaver for thousands of residents and expedite the reopening of our facilities to family members and loved ones.
An expediated rollout of the vaccine for our long term care residents and caregivers is vitally important given the level of COVID in our community and in long term care facilities right now. A one-month delay in administering the vaccine at long term care facilities could cost more than 10,000 of our residents their lives. The speed of which states can vaccinate our residents has significant life or death consequences.
The long term care industry, including nursing homes and assisted living communities, urge you (governors) to direct your public health agencies to ensure long term care residents and staff are the first group to receive the vaccine within this initial Phase 1a distribution to save as many lives as possible.
The full letter can be read here: