Today, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Committee on Equitable Allocation of Vaccine for the Novel Coronavirus released the final 237-page “Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine” report. Sponsored by NIH and CDC, the report is intended to help guide equitable allocation of a limited initial supply of the COVID-19 vaccine. In addition to an updated framework for equitable allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine, the final report includes recommendations for ensuring equity in distribution, administration, and access; for effective community engagement, risk communication, and strategies to promote vaccine acceptance; and for global considerations.
The release of this final report follows the September distribution of a discussion draft that sought public comments. We were pleased to see that the discussion draft assigned health care workers and high-risk seniors as recommended population groups for inclusion in Phase 1 in a four-phased approach to COVID-19 vaccine allocation. Along with ASHA, we submitted comments to support this recommendation to the National Academies; this included a request that more specificity be included in the final report to ensure senior living residents and employees are included in these stated groups.
Senior living residents and employees remain under Phase 1 (see p. 8-9) in the Committee’s recommended vaccine allocation plan:
- Phase 1a: Senior living employees are included under Phase 1a as “high-risk health workers” due to their “critical role in maintaining health care system functionality, their high risk of exposure to patients exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, and their risk of then transmitting the virus to others, including family members.”
- Phase 1b: Senior living residents are included under Phase 1b as “older adults living in congregate settings” due to their “high vulnerability to severe morbidity and mortality due to COVID-19.”
The report further recommends that HHS provide the necessary resources to ensure equitable allocation, distribution, and administration of the vaccine.
We encourage you to reach out to your state and local health departments and/or state regulating agency to inquire about any planned vaccine distribution plans and to share the importance of prioritization for senior living residents and employees in your state.