Nursing Home Vaccine Partnerships with Local Health Departments
LeadingAge NY is learning from various sources that there may be a new process moving forward for nursing homes to vaccinate their new staff and admissions. This may entail a move away from utilizing local health departments (LHDs) for assistance with vaccine supply. At this time, LeadingAge NY has not received any information or communication from the Department of Health (DOH) on this matter, though we have learned from members, regional vaccine hub contacts, and LHDs that this process may be evolving to a partnership with regional hubs or a shift to nursing home partnerships with long term care pharmacies.
Guidance on Paid Leave for COVID-19 Vaccinations
On March 12th, Governor Cuomo signed a new law permitting employees up to four hours of paid time off for the purpose of receiving a COVID-19 vaccination. The Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document to shed more light on the new requirement, which can be accessed here.
FDA Authorizes Changes Regarding Moderna Vaccine Doses
This week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized some changes relating to the Moderna vaccine. The FDA has authorized new vials with 15 doses and is also permitting vaccinators to utilize the 11th dose in a 10-dose vial if supply ensures a full 11th dose. The FDA Fact Sheet is available here.
Vaccinations and Monoclonal Antibody Treatment
Members treating their residents or patients with monoclonal antibody therapy should note that an individual should defer vaccination until 90 days after treatment. For an individual who has already received one dose in a two-dose regimen and then receives monoclonal antibody therapy treatment after the first dose, he or she may receive the second dose 90 days after therapy. That individual does not have to restart the two-dose regimen. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on this issue is outlined here, with the pertinent provision shown in italics below.
People who previously received passive antibody therapy
Currently, there are no data on the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines in people who received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma as part of COVID-19 treatment. Based on the estimated half-life of such therapies and evidence suggesting that reinfection is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection, vaccination should be deferred for at least 90 days. This is a precautionary measure until additional information becomes available, to avoid potential interference of the antibody therapy with vaccine-induced immune responses. This recommendation applies to people who receive passive antibody therapy before receiving any vaccine dose and to those who receive passive antibody therapy after the first dose of an mRNA vaccine but before the second dose, in which case the second dose should be deferred for at least 90 days following receipt of the antibody therapy. Receipt of passive antibody therapy in the past 90 days is not a contraindication to receipt of COVID-19 vaccine. COVID-19 vaccine doses received within 90 days after receipt of passive antibody therapy do not need to be repeated.
For people receiving antibody therapies not specific to COVID-19 treatment (e.g., intravenous immunoglobulin, RhoGAM), administration of COVID-19 vaccines either simultaneously with or at any interval before or after receipt of an antibody-containing product is unlikely to substantially impair development of a protective antibody response. Thus, there is no recommended minimum interval between antibody therapies not specific to COVID-19 treatment and COVID-19 vaccination.
CDC and ACL to Provide $100 Million in Grants to Help Vaccinate the Elderly and Disabled
Last week, President Biden announced several actions to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines, including a partnership between the Administration for Community Living (ACL) and the CDC to increase vaccine access for people with disabilities and older adults.
Though the elderly and disabled meet their state’s criteria to receive the vaccine, many face significant barriers to getting vaccinated. With funding from the CDC, ACL will issue nearly $100 million in grants to the aging and disability networks to provide critical services to help overcome those barriers.
These grants will provide assistance with scheduling vaccine appointments, transportation to vaccine sites, direct support services needed to attend vaccine appointments, connection to in-home vaccination options, and education about the importance of receiving the vaccine to older adults and people with disabilities. In addition, these grants will enable the aging and disability networks to identify people who are unable to independently travel to vaccination sites and to provide technical assistance to LHDs on improving access to vaccines for people with disabilities and older adults.
The $100 million will be distributed as follows:
- National hotlines to assist with scheduling and navigating options, including ACL's Eldercare Locator
- State Units on Aging and Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) ($50 million)
- Aging and Disability Resource Centers (S26 million)
- Centers for Independent Living that receive federal funding directly from ACL ($5 million)
- University Centers of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities ($4 million)
- Protection and Advocacy systems ($4 million)
- State Councils on Developmental Disabilities ($4 million)
LeadingAge NY will be looking into how home and community-based services (HCBS) and other members can partner with AAAs in this effort. We will keep you updated on our efforts.