This morning, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky endorsed Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for people 65 years of age and older and residents in long-term care settings, as well as people 18 years of age and older with underlying medical conditions. Additionally, she approved boosters for those over 18 who are at increased risk due to an occupational or institutional setting. While we are waiting for official guidance from the CDC, it should be noted that OSHA’s definition of high-risk workplaces includes those working in assisted living and continuing care retirement communities and as such, those employees could be covered under this endorsement.
Last night, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration made an amendment to the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine allowing for a booster dose to be given at least six months after completion of its primary series in those 65 years of age and older. They also authorized the booster for those 18+ who are at high risk of severe COVID-19 and those whose occupations put them at risk, such as "health care workers, teachers and day care staff, grocery workers and those in homeless shelters or prisons, among others,” said acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock.
Today, the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee met and voted unanimously to recommend Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for a booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to be given six months after full vaccination for those 65 and older and those at high risk of severe illness due to COVID-19. They also informally suggested that health care workers be considered for the booster dose.
Today, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) fully approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which will now be marketed as Comirnaty, for the prevention of COVID-19 in those 16 years of age and older.
The CDC updated its mask guidance today for people who are fully vaccinated in the general public. Guidance for healthcare professionals remains unchanged at this time. The CDC now recommends wearing a mask indoors in any of these conditions:
As of today, July 1, the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Reporting Portal is now open. Providers that received one or more payments exceeding $10,000, in the aggregate, during a Payment Received Period are required to report on the use of funds. PRF recipients must only use payments for eligible expenses, including services rendered, and lost revenues attributable to coronavirus before the deadline that corresponds to the relevant Payment Received Period. Providers who are required to report during Reporting Period 1 have until September 30, 2021 to enter the Portal and submit their information. All recipients of PRF payments must comply with the reporting requirements described in the Terms and Conditions.
Yesterday, the CDC published updated guidance calling for prioritization of visitation, dining, and a re-opening of group activities in assisted living communities. This guidance, which also includes recommendations for discontinuation of routine testing for asymptomatic staff, follows a series of discussions where Argentum advocated for such guidance specifically for the assisted living sector. We thank those at the CDC for listening to the industry's needs and for the volunteers at Argentum for sharing their expertise in helping to shape this guidance.“This is tremendously welcome news for residents and families who’ve long awaited meaningful engagement with each other," said James Balda, Argentum president & CEO. "Both visitation and dining are core socialization activities at our communities; lifting restrictions for those fully vaccinated will continue to support social enrichment for residents and families. We are thankful that resident vaccination rates across the industry are exceedingly high and that a sense of normalcy is returning. At Argentum, we are continuing to work closely with the CDC to ensure further guidance is adapted for assisted living and other senior living communities.”
Users of the BinaxNOW™ COVID-19 Ag Card are urged to check the lot numbers and expiration dates of their tests. Abbott has informed users that further testing has authorized use of some tests up to nine months, three months beyond the original expiration dates.
Visitation is essential to the health and well-being of senior living residents. Argentum's latest guidance, "Model Visitation Protocols For Vaccinated Senior Living Communities," provides protocols, considerations, and general practices designed specifically for visitation in the variety of spaces and circumstances in senior living communities. This guidance was compiled by clinical experts, risk managers, and other stakeholders who have in-depth knowledge of senior living.