More And More States Expanding COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility To People Aged 16 And Older.
Bloomberg (4/1, LaVito) reports that “just as eligibility is opening to millions of people across the U.S. after months of cutthroat competition to find Covid-19 shots, vaccines are starting to stream into people’s arms.” Almost “half of U.S. states will have opened vaccination to everyone 16 and older by the end of this week. That will rise to about three-quarters, or 35 states, by the end of next week.”
Demand Surges As States Expand COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility.
The Wall Street Journal (4/1, Kamp, Avila, Subscription Publication) reports demand for COVID-19 vaccines is surging as more states expand eligibility, raising concerns that some older adults who have struggled to find a vaccination appointment will now also have to contend with the increased demand.
Some Worry Older Coloradans Will Have Harder Time Getting Vaccine After Eligibility Expansion.
The Denver Post (4/1, Wingerter) reports that Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) “urged patience when he announced Monday that the state would expand eligibility to everyone 16 and older Friday.” The “decision to expand eligibility was based not only on how many people have been vaccinated in the previous phase, but also on anticipated vaccine supply, how many doses providers can get into arms and ways to expand the rollout, like the state’s newly opened mass-vaccination sites,” a Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment statement said. The “quick expansion comes amid concerns that Coloradans at higher risk of serious complications and death from the virus, including older residents and people with disabilities, will now have an even harder time securing appointments.”
Maryland Provides US With View Into Challenges Of Expanded Vaccinations.
The New York Times (4/1, A1, Steinhauer, Goodnough) reports that Maryland “offers a microcosm of the issues states face as they rush to open enough vaccination sites to meet President Biden’s goal of making every adult eligible for Covid-19 shots by May 1.” The state “has encountered nearly all the geographic, demographic and human behavioral challenges that come with a public health task of this scale: poor urban neighborhoods where many lack access to regular care; wealthy Washington suburbs whose residents have proved adept at vacuuming up shots meant for other ZIP codes; isolated rural areas; and a sign-up system that has so vexed the citizenry that vaccine hunting has become for many a part-time job.”
CVS Health To Expand COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts To Pharmacies In 44 States.
Contributor Bruce Japsen writes in Forbes (4/1), “CVS Health said it will expand its Covid-19 vaccination efforts to nearly 2,000 U.S. drugstores in 44 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.” This development “announced Thursday comes as the Biden administration ramps up the number of doses sent to states while increasing the availability of doses sent directly to U.S. retail pharmacies including CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Walmart and others.”
Modern Healthcare (April 1)
Atrium Health Navicent is working with the Georgia Department of Public Health to administer COVID-19 vaccines to residents who are homebound. Nurses with the Macon, Ga.-based health system started administering the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine Thursday to individuals identified by the Area Agency on Aging and the Department of Public Health.
HHS To Provide $100M In Grants To Help Expand Access To COVID-19 Vaccines For Seniors, People With Disabilities.
PatientEngagementHIT (3/31, McGrail) reports that recently, HHS announced “it will help to expand critical access to COVID-19 vaccines among older adults and people with disabilities.” The department, “along with the CDC and the Administration for Community Living (ACL), will provide nearly $100 million in grants to help further key goals of protecting the most vulnerable populations and advancing equity.” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said, “Through this unique, exciting new partnership between ACL and CDC, HHS will work alongside advocates to help older adults and people with disabilities get the services and assistance they need in order to get vaccinated and have the security of knowing they are protected from COVID-19.”
ABC News (March 31)
As more older Americans get vaccinated an increasing number of new COVID-19 cases are impacting younger adults, prompting warnings that Americans remain vigilant in an effort to prevent more people from becoming sick. The number of new COVID-19 cases increased more than 10% in 26 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico since last week, a possible signal that the country is on the cusp of a new surge. And for the first time, the majority of new hospitalizations have been younger adults, with cases among people ages 50-65 increasing more than those older than 65, who are more likely to have been vaccinated. And in some states, like Michigan and Massachusetts, the number of cases among older children, teenagers and young adults have also increased.
Kaiser Health News (March 31)
With a mix of relief and caution, older adults fully vaccinated against covid-19 are moving out into the world and resuming activities put on hold during the pandemic. Many are making plans to see adult children and hug grandchildren they haven’t visited for months — or longer. Others are getting together with friends indoors, for the first time in a long time.
Grass-Roots Groups Develop Program To Vaccinate Homebound Seniors Living In Los Angeles County.
The Los Angeles Times (3/30, Seidman) reports, “On Friday, the Glendale Fire Department and Glendale Memorial Hospital co-launched a pilot program to vaccinate homebound seniors living in the Jewel City.” The pilot program “is one of several grass-roots initiatives that have sprung up in recent weeks to bring shots to those too sick to leave home, a vulnerable population that some fear is being left behind even as vaccine access rapidly expands” in Southern California.
All 50 States Have Announced When They Will Expand COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility To All Residents Aged 16 And Older, If They Have Not Already Done So.
CNN (3/30, Howard) reports, “All 50 states have announced when they plan to open up coronavirus vaccinations to everyone eligible under US Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorizations – if they haven’t done so already.” The article provides a timeline listing each state’s expected expansion dates.
Loudoun Times Mirror (March 30)—Alison Barkoff quoted
HHS Assistant Secretary Alison Barkoff said that after those of advanced age, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are those most vulnerable to COVID-19.
"Their death rate is two to three times the rate of other people in the general population, which is why having these kinds of accessible sites is so important," she told the Times-Mirror.
HHS provides funding for these events to ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia, whose title stems from the organization's goal to "end dependence by empowering people with disabilities to live independently," according to its website.
"This is a great example of how community-based organizations that really know the community are really helping with access," Barkoff said.
Spectrum News (March 29)—Mentions new ACL/CDC partnership
President Biden also announced two new federal initiatives to boost access to the vaccine, including a doubling of the federal pharmacy program to nearly 40,000 locations, with the goal of making the shot available within five miles for 90% of Americans. Another effort will invest nearly $100 million in a program to schedule appointments for some of the most vulnerable Americans and bring them to vaccination sites.