Vaccinations against COVID-19 in long-term care facilities are essential for protecting the weakest populations and preventing the spread of the virus in these settings. Long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities, older houses, and people with underlying health conditions are at greater risk of severe illness or mortality from COVID-19.
Vaccinated residents and staff can substantially reduce the risk of outbreaks in long-term care facilities. It will also protect the healthcare professionals who treat these patients. Vaccinations in long-term care facilities can aid in preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and fatalities among residents who are especially susceptible to the virus.
Long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities, were especially vulnerable to COVID-19 outbreaks due to the proximity of their senior and frequently immunocompromised residents.
Governments and health authorities across the globe have acknowledged the significance of protecting these vulnerable populations and the personnel who provide care. Consequently, numerous strategies were implemented to prioritize COVID-19 vaccinations in long-term care facilities. Typically, these strategies included:
- Early immunization access: According to national or regional vaccination guidelines, long-term care facility residents and employees were among the first to get COVID-19 vaccines.
- Mobile vaccination teams: Some nations have mobile vaccination teams that provide immunizations in long-term care institutions. This strategy is intended to reach individuals who may have had trouble accessing vaccination centers.
- Education and engagement: In long-term care facilities, efforts were made to provide information and address vaccine reluctance among residents and staff. Authorities aimed to ensure that everyone had access to accurate information regarding the safety and efficacy of vaccines.
- Booster dosages: With the increased research in developing COVID-19 vaccinations, some nations began giving vulnerable groups, such as those in long-term care institutions, booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines to increase protection against the virus and its variations.
Responsibilities of Vaccination Providers
- Schedule and coordinate on-site clinic dates at a time mutually agreed upon by both parties.
- Order and distribute vaccines and ancillary supplies (e.g., syringes, needles, PPE).
- Adhere to all applicable CMS COVID-19 entry requirements for all facility visitors.
- Administer the COVID-19 vaccine by all requirements and recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (“ACIP”).
- During the COVID-19 outbreak, administer the requested vaccine on-site to residents and staff by Safe Vaccine Administration standards.
- Maintain the cold chain management for vaccines at all times.
- Provide COVID-19 Vaccine Information/ Screening Form for duplication by the facility and completion by each resident and employee requesting services.
- Before vaccine administration, obtain and review the COVID-19 Vaccine Information/Screening Form for each person scheduled to receive the vaccine, and append the CDC Vaccine Record, if available.
- Ensure that participants receiving the vaccine are given the EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers until full FDA authorization is granted.
- Provide post-vaccination monitoring for all patients in administrative areas not directly supervised by facility personnel (e.g., patient rooms).
- Patients should be issued updated CDC Vaccine Record cards proving they have been immunized or received a supplementary vaccine.
- Report vaccination information within 24 hours of administration.
- For indigent patients, bill any insurance to reimburse the COVID vaccine administration fee.
Responsibilities of LTCFs (Long-term Care Facility)
- Provide a direct point of contact (name, email, phone number) for COVID-19 vaccination event coordination.
- Schedule and coordinate on-site clinic dates with the provider directly.
- Complete an Excel spreadsheet containing demographic information for all individuals scheduled to receive a COVID vaccine on the site visit date to verify COVID vaccination status in LINKS, and email it to the Provider.
- Coordinate patient and staff availability for the event date and schedule vaccinations at mutually agreed-upon intervals with the provider.
- Provide a central location or area for vaccinations and monitoring. The common area for vaccines should be at least 10 x 10 feet with a table, two chairs, and an electrical outlet to facilitate safe social distancing practices.
- Suppose a resident cannot receive a vaccination in a common area, and the Provider must administer the vaccination in another location, such as the resident’s room. In that case, the facility must provide an observer for the recommended 15 to 30 minutes post-vaccination monitoring.
LTC providers should choose the COVID-19 vaccine option that works best for their residents and staff, on-site or in the community. Contact us at (510) 573-0064 to learn about COVID-19 Vaccine Access in Long-Term Care Facilities.