LeadingAge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Partner to Protect Older Americans From Ongoing COVID Threats
Contact: Colleen Knudsen
February 16, 2022 Washington, DC — LeadingAge is partnering with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) We Can Do This public education campaign to help its older adult–serving members increase uptake of updated COVID vaccines among staff, residents, family members, and others in the community.
An updated COVID vaccine restores protection that may have waned over time, including protection against severe illness, hospitalization, and death.
As part of the effort, LeadingAge will distribute over $250,000 in grants to its members to host COVID vaccination clinics. Members serve older adults in a range of communities and settings, including nursing homes, home health care, hospice, Programs for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), senior living, and affordable housing for low-income older adults.
“Even as the COVID public health emergency nears its end, aging services providers remain committed to protecting the health and safety of the people they care for and serve,” said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge. “Our members have been putting grant money to good use nationwide in myriad ways, from conducting vaccination clinics and hosting community-wide educational seminars to purchasing advertisements for vaccine-focused marketing campaigns. We know that updated vaccines make a difference and have an impact, which is why we’re excited about the opportunities that will result from our newest effort.”
The partnership announced today is the latest in a series of initiatives undertaken in collaboration with the White House to protect against COVID and ensure the well-being of older adults and the people who care for them. LeadingAge’s other collaborations with the White House Covid-19 Task Force, HHS, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) include:
- To support the White House COVID-19 Winter Preparedness Plan, LeadingAge in December 2022 launched All Hands on Deck, a 5-month campaign to increase nursing home residents’ uptake of updated COVID vaccines. The most recent data from the effort show that as of Jan. 22, 2023, 65.82% of residents in LeadingAge member nursing homes are up to date with their COVID vaccines, compared with 50.64% of residents in all nursing homes nationwide, and 40.5% among the U.S. population age 65 or older. Learn more about LeadingAge members’ efforts to increase updated vaccine vaccination rates here: Trust, Transparency, and Leadership: Keys to High Nursing Home Resident Bivalent Booster Rates.
- Via the CDC-funded Vaccine Equity and Awareness Program (VEAP), which raises awareness and access to vaccines among older adults and the people who care for them, particularly in communities of color, in late 2021, LeadingAge distributed 42 grants ($10,000 each) to members throughout the United States for vaccine education and uptake; in Phase 2, now under way, members in Maryland, Florida, and Georgia in October 2022 received $20,000 grants for VEAP programs, with a follow-up $20,000 grant round awarded December 2022 to members in the Washington metropolitan area. In addition to grant awards, LeadingAge is also creating and distributing grassroots materials, communications and partnership tools in English and Spanish for distribution to members nationwide.
“Ensuring older adults’ well-being and keeping communities safe is at the core of our members’ mission,” Sloan said, noting that throughout the pandemic, LeadingAge has leveraged its longstanding relationships with federal agencies to advocate for and help build critical programs. These include the creation and rollout of the Federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long Term Care which, starting in 2020, brought vaccine clinics to nursing homes and, through LeadingAge advocacy, to residents of affordable housing communities for low-income older adults. More recently, LeadingAge collaborated with HHS and the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development to create a Free Test Kit portal, open to all providers of aging services regardless of LeadingAge membership.About LeadingAge:
LeadingAge represents more than 5,000 nonprofit aging services providers and other missionary-minded organizations that touch millions of lives every day. Alongside its members and 38 state partners, LeadingAge uses applied research, advocacy, education, and community-building to make America a better place to grow old. Its membership, which now includes the providers of the Visiting Nurse Associations of America, encompasses the continuum of services for people as they age, including those with disabilities. LeadingAge brings together the most inventive minds in the field to lead and innovate solutions that support older adults wherever they call home. For more information, visit leadingage.org.
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