Companies in the senior housing space are gearing up to give residents a second Covid-19 vaccine booster following new approvals from the FDA and CDC Tuesday.
Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) signed off on a second booster dose of an mRNA vaccine, such as those produced by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, for people 50 and older and for certain immunocompromised individuals. The go-ahead makes a second booster dose available for people at higher risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death, including senior living residents.
The authorization comes as emerging evidence suggests that a second booster dose of an mRNA Covid-19 vaccine improves protection against severe Covid-19 and is not associated with new safety concerns
“Boosters are safe, and people over the age of 50 can now get an additional booster 4 months after their prior dose to increase their protection further,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in an agency statement. “This is especially important for those 65 and older and those 50 and older with underlying medical conditions that increase their risk for severe disease from Covid-19.”
Senior living operators are already planning how to obtain and administer additional booster doses.. Leaders with Dallas-based Pegasus Senior Living executives told Senior Housing News they plan to gain access to oral Covid medications along with readying plans to put shots in arms in the immediate future.
“We have to make sure that we have access and make sure that we already pencil in dates for preparation so that we can have an efficient and quick rollout,” said Dr. Sandra Petersen, who serves as vice president of health and wellness for Pegasus. “We will work to go ahead and secure the number of vaccines we are going to need for our residents and staff so that it’s available to everyone when it comes online.”
Medication Management Partners (MMP), which is based near Chicago, offers a variety of pharmacy services within the senior living industry. Leaders with the company were “excited” to hear the latest booster news, according to MMP operations director Mahmoud Zegar.
“Waning immunity in the demographic has always been a concern and even more of an issue for residents in congregate care and assisted living settings,” Zegar said.
Still, reimbursements of Covid-19 vaccinations continued to be “problematic” ahead of the HRSA portal shutting down for uninsured patient reimbursement after April 5, he added.
“MMP is committed to playing a critical role in simplifying pharmacy for the staff at our partner facilities and improving quality of life for the residents we service,” Zegar said.
Vaccine uptake has been relatively strong among senior living residents, with many companies reporting that substantially all of their residents rolled up their sleeves as they executed their vaccination plans last year.