December 14, 2020
The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) shared that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer's request for emergency use authorization (EUA) of its COVID-19 vaccine. This is incredible news. We have had a really tough year, but this announcement is the beginning of the end of this pandemic. That is something worth celebrating. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently recommended that long term care residents and staff be included at the highest priority level for the first distributions of this vaccine. That means we will soon have access to it, but the logistics of getting the vaccine into our buildings are complex. Washington State is collaborating with the Western States Pact, and their review work will begin tomorrow.  

In addition to the EUA fact sheet that is now available, AHCA/NCAL has developed many resources to help you plan for these clinics and communicate with staff/residents about the importance of getting this vaccine. More than 3,000 members joined us on a recent webinar focused on planning for these COVID-19 vaccine clinics, building vaccine confidence, and increasing vaccination rates in your buildings. If you weren’t able to join, a recording is available here.

AHCA/NCAL has also shared a variety of communications resources on the AHCA/NCAL website. This includes template letters that can be used for outreach to staff, residents, and resident representatives to obtain consent to get the vaccine. There are also talking points, frequently asked questions, and much more to help you navigate this massive undertaking. 

AHCA/NCAL will also host COVID-19 vaccination "office hours" on December 15 and 16. The AHCA/NCAL team will be available to answer your questions about how to get ready and promote high vaccination rates in your buildings. Be sure to register today.

Here are additional resources made available by CVS, Walgreens, the FDA, and the CDC:
You are invited to join the Washington Society of Post-Acute and Long Term Care Medicine (WA-PALTC) for a webinar on Thursday, December 16, 2020, at 6 PM. The webinar, COVID-19 Vaccine: How Will it Work? A Talk with the Experts, will include Dr. Mike Miynt, ID Specialist at Multicare, Kathy Bay, DOH Vaccine Advisory Group, Dr. Leslie Eber, AMDA State Chapter President (Colorado), and Dr. Sabine von Preyss-Friedman, WA-PALTC, moderating. Register in advance to participate.  
The next CMS Skilled Nursing Facilities Long Term Care Open Door Forum is scheduled for Thursday, December 17, 2020, at 11 AM PST. Todd Smith of Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services will be joined by Jill Darling of the Office of Communications. They will be providing announcements and updates and a public reporting announcement. This link and this link are on the agenda (which is subject to change). There will be an open Q&A session as well. This session will be offered as a conference call only. To join, dial (888) 455-1397 and use passcode 9375124. Instant Replay is an audio recording of this call that can be accessed by dialing 1 (800) 925-4415. Instant Replay begins one hour after the call has ended. The recording expires December 21, 2020, 11:59 PM ET.
WHCA continues to post resources and information as it becomes available on our website. If you have questions or need additional information, please call the WHCA office at (800) 562-6170.