AHCA, NCAL calling on state leaders to follow guidance from CDC on vaccine distribution

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Governor Eric Holcomb could address the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine when he speaks at his weekly coronavirus press conference.

The American Health Care Association (AHCA) and National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) want governors across the country to step up and ensure their residents and staff are prioritized in the actual rollout of the vaccine to provide as much protection as possible.

In the 13 to 1 vote, Centers for Disease Control advisors determined to include both groups, health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities, in what they’re calling Phase 1a of the coronavirus vaccine distribution plan. They say both groups are exceptionally high risk and that specifically long-term care facility residents account for 40% of coronavirus deaths in the United States.

The CDC says 100,000 long-term care facility residents have died from COVID-19.

Dr. Jose Romero says the next step is at the state level.

“It will be incumbent upon each state to decide within those groups who to begin to vaccinate initially,” he said. “So it’s not the same to be a health care provider that is not having direct patient contact as it is a health care provider that is in the intensive care unit carrying for individuals with COVID-19 or emergency room physicians or nurses that are carrying for COVID-19.”

New numbers from AHCA show that with the recent spike in new COVID-19 cases, weekly nursing home cases are on the rise. John Hopkins University data shows weekly new cases rose by 330% to more than 1 million cases the week of Nov. 15. That week alone, 49% of new COVID-19 cases in nursing homes were from Midwest states. This resulted in a more than 400% increase in weekly COVID-19 cases in the Midwest region.

The FDA meets on Dec. 10 to discuss the request for Emergency Use Authorization from Pfizer. Manufacturers are ramping up production. The CDC expects between 5 million and 10 million doses will become available each week for the first few months.