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Biden Pledges ‘Laser-Focus’ on Vaccines for Residential Care, Targeted Interventions for Assisted Living

One day after President Joe Biden took office, his administration released its national strategy for combating Covid-19. The 200-page plan calls for a “laser-focus” on vaccinating people at highest risk, including older adults and people in congregate settings, as well as “targeted surge assistance” to help contain Covid-19 outbreaks in assisted living.

Though details are scarce, the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA) is supportive of moves to expand the LTC Pharmacy Program and accelerate distribution of vaccines to residential care settings, ASHA President David Schless said. 

“We are concerned that by calling on states to expand eligibility to other workers and younger age groups, much like the previous administration did recently, before addressing all of senior living residents and staff, it will stress the system and threaten the scarce vaccine supply,” he noted. “This becomes more problematic when certain settings such as independent living are being left out of the LTC pharmacy plan.”

ASHA also is concerned about plans for releasing more vaccine supply while maintaining commitment to the current, two-dose regimen. This approach is “dependent on moving parts working in concert,” with the risk being that second-dose supply will not be available when needed.

But ASHA is encouraged by the comprehensive plan to accelerate vaccine supply and distribution and has a “simple message” to the administration:

“Include all senior living in the existing LTC Pharmacy Program, including independent living. It is the most efficient and safest way to disseminate vaccine to this vulnerable population and the staff and prevent hospitalizations and demand on the greater health care system.”

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