NAHC: Prioritize Home Care and Hospice Workers for COVID-19 Vaccine

 Posted Monday, December 7, 2020

 Vaccine advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) voted 13-1 on Tuesday, December 1, to recommend health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities be prioritized for coronavirus vaccines that receive emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.

NAHC has joined with other leading home care and hospice organizations to send a letter supporting draft recommendations pending before the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on the prioritization of vaccine access. Home care and hospice staff of all disciplines are included in the first group (Phase 1a) subject to access to the COVID-19 vaccine since the workforce is properly included in ACIP’s definition of health care workers.

“Home-based providers are working aggressively to prevent any spread of the virus from the community to their direct care professionals and the individuals they serve. Prioritizing vaccinations for our frontline health care staff and the high needs individuals we serve will be critical in achieving that goal,” the groups write in the letter to the ACIP.

Home health aides, hospice aides, personal care aides, home care workers, direct support professionals, nurses, therapists and social workers care for more than 12 million of the nation’s most at-risk individuals annually through a workforce of over 3.5 million dedicated caregivers. Collectively, the home care and hospice provider sector is serving tens of thousands of patients with active COVID-19 infections with more than 60% of home care and hospice providers reporting COVID-19 infected patients on service.

“We want to emphasize that the individuals we serve often have complex service needs and are at high risk for COVID-19. While we recognize the need for vaccinations for those that live in long-term care facilities, it is important to remember that our workforce, on a daily basis, frequently goes to multiple homes,” the letter continues. “They also provide care in other health care settings including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and inpatient hospice facilities. The greater protection that both the workforce and individuals receive, the less likely there will be a community spread of the virus.”

Source: NAHC

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