PHCA Commends CDC Advisory Panel for Prioritizing COVID-19 Vaccine to Long-Term Care Residents and Staff, Calls on Governor Wolf and Secretary of Health to Adopt Recommendation
HARRISBURG, PA – Zach Shamberg, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA), issued the following statement after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to include long-term care residents and staff at the highest level of priority for the first distributions of a COVID-19 vaccine:
“Yesterday’s vote was about priority. It’s no secret that long-term care residents, our most vulnerable population, have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
“The 13-1 vote by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices affirmed that our loved ones in nursing homes, as well as the healthcare heroes who care for them, should be among the first group to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
“However, the CDC’s recommendation is just that: a recommendation. States are not required to follow the prioritization affirmed by yesterday’s vote. In fact, each state will implement its own plan to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as determine which segment of the population to prioritize in the initial rollout and allocation.
“We strongly urge Governor Tom Wolf, Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, and state officials to apply the framework outlined by the CDC, adopt its recommendations, and prioritize our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians.
“As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 continues to rise across the commonwealth, we must protect our seniors in nursing homes, personal care homes, and assisted living communities, as well as their providers of care.”