National Town Hall With Top Government Officials Will Address Vaccine Confidence for Aging Services Care Workers and Staff

PRESS RELEASE | March 02, 2021 | by Susan Donley

“Achieving a high rate of staff vaccinations will be a game changer in fighting COVID in aging services.”

Contact: Susan Donley 202-508-1209   

March 2, 2021, Washington, DC—LeadingAge, in partnership with the Black Coalition Against COVID (BCAC), will host a national town hall to address concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine among workers in the aging services community. “Making It Plain: A Town Hall On COVID-19 and Vaccines For the Dedicated People Who Work in Aging Services” will be held Thursday, March 4, 2021 from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. ET. The virtual event, open to workers from all levels and backgrounds, will be broadcast by through Facebook Live and YouTube.

“Achieving a high rate of staff vaccinations will be a game changer in fighting COVID in aging services. We are committed to doing all we can to make it happen—including this first of its kind national town hall,” said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge, the association of more than 5,000 mission-driven aging services providers, including nursing homes. “The reasons for vaccine hesitancy are real and varied. We need to acknowledge the experience of Black people with systemic racism in the medical community, put their voices front and center, and recognize that the newness of the vaccines contributes to fear of side effects. That’s what this night is about.

Dr. Reed Tuckson, managing director of Tuckson Health and part of the Team of Community Leaders of the BCAC, will host the event with Sloan. Panelists will include Dr. Cameron Webb, senior policy advisor for equity on the White House’s COVID-19 Response Team; Dr. Amanda Cohn, deputy director immunization services division at the federal Centers for Disease Control; Dr LaShawn McIver, the Director of the Office of Minority Health at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Michael Wasserman, geriatrician and member of California’s Community Vaccine Advisory Committee; Lilly Immergluck, Professor at the Morehouse School of Medicine; and others.

Speakers from LeadingAge’s membership, will include:

  • Dr. Gregory Hall, medical director, Eliza Bryant Village and executive director, National Institute for African American Health, Cleveland, OH
  • Altonia Garrett, vice president for public affairs and strategic partnerships at Capital Caring Health, Falls Church, VA
  • Miles Lee, life enrichment coordinator, Forest Hills Senior Community, Washington, DC

“The Black health academicians, researchers, clinicians, and leading African American medical organizations that comprise the Black Coalition Against COVID (BCAC) recognize and accept our professional responsibility to provide trustworthy advice and counsel to our societyespecially the extraordinarily valuable and selfless people who attend to the health and social needs of our elderly,” said Reed Tuckson M.D. Co-founder of the BCAC,” said Tuckson.

LeadingAge recently backed a goal of vaccinating 75% of nursing home staff by June 30, 2021. The association also called for the federal government to ease nursing home visitation guidelines, with safety precautions that align with the progress resident vaccinations have already achieved.

“Throughout the pandemic, aging services staff have shown again and again that our field is all about care, compassion, and helping older adults live life to the fullest,” added Sloan. “This night is an important opportunity for care providers to talk with leading experts about the safety and effectiveness of COVID vaccines--as well as with their peers, who will share first-hand experience about getting vaccinated. We hope the town hall delivers the answers needed to help care providers make the decision that is best for them, their families and the people they serve.”

About LeadingAge:

We represent more than 5,000 nonprofit aging services providers and other mission-minded organizations that touch millions of lives every day. Alongside our members and 38 state partners, we use applied research, advocacy, education, and community-building to make America a better place to grow old. Our membership encompasses the entire continuum of aging services. We bring 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