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Important Reminders and New Developments Regarding COVID-19 Vaccination

With the White House initiative to encourage people to get the COVID-19 bivalent vaccine before the end of the year, and the specific focus on nursing homes, our partners at LeadingAge National have been working together with the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to increase the bivalent booster uptake by nursing home residents. We know that members have been tireless in their efforts to educate and ensure accurate access to vaccination for residents, patients, and staff. While nursing homes nationwide are seeing just under 45 percent of residents accepting the bivalent booster, more than 58 percent of LeadingAge member nursing home residents have accepted it. For more information about how New York State providers are faring, click here.

Given this, we again want to remind members to ensure that they are in compliance with both federal (as applicable) and state regulations requiring education and offering of the vaccine. As a reminder, state regulations require nursing homes and adult care facilities (ACFs) to offer to provide or facilitate access to the bivalent vaccine, regardless of whether an individual previously declined the most recent booster available. Members should be sure to document efforts and record any declinations of vaccination per state regulation. Click here for more information and background on this issue. This Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) page has resources you can use to help educate people regarding the bivalent booster.

LeadingAge National is also reporting that single-dose vials of COVID-19 vaccine are now available in limited supply. These will offer greater flexibility in vaccine distribution and expand the number of sites where vaccines can be administered. We hope that this provides additional flexibility to nursing homes and other members that may administer the vaccine.

Lastly, for those members who serve children and for parents, the CDC has expanded the use of updated (bivalent) COVID-19 vaccines for children ages six months through five years. Children ages six months through five years who previously completed a Moderna primary series are eligible to receive a Moderna bivalent booster two months after their final primary series dose. Children ages six months through four years who are currently completing a Pfizer primary series will receive a Pfizer bivalent vaccine as their third primary dose. Children ages six months through four years who have already completed their three-dose primary series with the original (monovalent) Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will not be eligible for a booster dose of an updated bivalent vaccine at this time. Children in this age group who already completed their primary series would still be expected to have protection against the most serious outcomes from the currently circulating Omicron variant. Click here for more information.

Contact: Diane Darbyshire, ddarbyshire@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8828