Healthcare worker readying a vaccine for an older woman

Some home healthcare providers already had the ball rolling on preparations for COVID-19 booster vaccinations — even before the Biden administration announced Wednesday afternoon they would be offered.

ArchCare New York, which operates three Programs of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly centers in the New York City metropolitan area, met earlier with its pharmacy provider to make arrangements for possible boosters. A few weeks ago, ArchCare became the first PACE program to mandate vaccinations for its 5,000 employees. Last spring it launched an aggressive effort to vaccinate its more than 700 members in their homes and at PACE Centers.

Scott LaRue, president and CEO of ArchCare, told McKnight’s Home Care Daily the program will use a similar plan for the next round of vaccinations.

Scott LaRue, ArchCare

“The logistics of this should be pretty straightforward as the majority of those we provided immunizations to received the same vaccine,” LaRue explained. “What is more complicated are those who have been admitted to our programs, and we did not coordinate their vaccinations. We need to identify what vaccine they had and how to ensure they receive the same one for the booster shot. In addition, there is not a mechanism in place to report the third shot to the regulatory entities.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services authorized the booster shots, pending Food and Drug Administration approval, as the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19 continues its rampage across the country.

“The available data make very clear that protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection begins to decrease over time following the initial doses of vaccination, and in association with the dominance of the delta variant, we are starting to see evidence of reduced protection against mild and moderate disease,” HHS said in a statement.

The booster shots are expected to be available around September 20. They can be administered eight months after an individual has received the second dose of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

SCAN Health, which operates a Medicare Advantage plan in California, told McKnight’s Home Care Daily in a statement it is “looking into which members meet eligibility (requirements) and will work with their providers to ensure they follow the appropriate courses of treatment.”

The first boosters are likely to go to nursing home residents, healthcare workers and emergency responders. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates about 50% of Americans are fully vaccinated; around 80% of people 65 and older are fully vaccinated.