COvID vaccine vial

A five-year, $10.5 million agreement between AMDA–The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine and the federal government will try to improve vaccination rates among residents and staff members in senior living and other long-term care settings. AMDA announced the agreement on Monday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has funded the first year of the arrangement, which covers assisted living and independent living communities, continuing care retirement communities, home- and community-based settings, and skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes. 

The program aims to incorporate routine adult vaccinations — including those for COVID-19, influenza, pneumonia, shingles and respiratory syncytial virus — into the standard of care for long-term care. AMDA said it intends to develop or update vaccine guidance, policy statements and standards regarding implementation of the Standards for Adult Immunization Practice; prioritize vaccines relevant to post-acute and long-term care settings; and pilot-test quality improvement interventions to improve overall adult vaccination rates in those settings.

“This is a timely opportunity to truly address the structural issues surrounding vaccination rates in long-term care,” project director Elizabeth Sobczyk, MSW, MPH, said in a statement. “We will design and launch pilots with nursing home and assisted living chains and others and then expand these in the subsequent years.

“The end goal is to make routine adult vaccination assessment and delivery a permanent standard of care for all [post-acute and long-term care],” aligned with the goals of the federal government’s Healthy People 2030 initiative, she added.

David Nace, M.D., AMDA’s immediate past president, will be the project’s medical director.

During last year’s flu season, influenza vaccination was lower among healthcare workers in long-term care (69.3%) compared with those in hospitals (93.2%). Data on COVID-19 vaccination rates in long-term care settings show that 81.8% of residents, on average, are vaccinated, compared with 59.3% of staff members, according to AMDA.