National Committee Issues COVID-19 Vaccine Report, Adopts LeadingAge Recommendations

Regulation | October 02, 2020 | by Brendan Flinn

Final report maintains recommendation of top priority for aging services workers and residents, and includes community-based workers.

On October 2, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) issued its final committee report, Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine. The purpose of the framework is to provide recommendations on which populations should have access to a COVID-19 vaccine in which order.

The final report’s publication follows a discussion from NASEM in early September, in response to which LeadingAge provided oral testimony and submitted written comments. You can also read an article about the draft framework and its implications for aging services providers here.  

NASEM itself does not set policy and this report does not do so either. Actual allocation strategies will be determined by federal, state and local agencies. These recommendations, however, may inform those decisions.

The final report maintains the same “tier 1” populations as proposed in the draft version: high-risk health workers, first responders, people with health conditions that put them at high risk for the virus, and older adults living in congregate/overcrowded settings.

Workers in nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living and home care (e.g., home health) settings are included in the high-risk worker category, as they were in the draft report. Community settings, like adult day services and PACE centers, were not included in the draft report but are in the final framework, which is in line with LeadingAge’s comments to the draft version. The committee defines workers in this context to include both clinical and nonclinical staff.

For older adults living in congregate/overcrowded settings, the committee maintained its inclusion of nursing facility residents, assisted living residents as well as older adults living below the poverty line (a proxy the committee used for multigenerational and other potentially “overcrowded” settings).

The final report does not specifically list other settings, such as affordable housing or independent living communities, but the nature of these communities (e.g., primarily housing older adults) should qualify both of these settings for prioritized vaccine access as states and the federal government plan for allocation.

LeadingAge will continue to advocate for prioritized access to COVID-19 vaccines for aging services workers, and residents and service recipients.