Immunization programs are an essential component of risk management in modern nursing homes. Preventing the spread of infectious diseases through vaccinations protects at-risk residents and supplements the protections of nursing home insurance. Good news is on the horizon for nursing home managers, staff, and residents: Pfizer’s new combination COVID booster and pneumonia vaccine shows promise in preventing the spread of two potentially fatal respiratory diseases.
The Pfizer Announcement
Pfizer, a pharmaceutical company credited with producing one of the first viable COVID-19 vaccines, announced in May 2021 that it has selected 600 trial candidates to receive an investigational vaccine which co-administers a pneumococcal vaccine with a booster of the company’s approved COVID-19 vaccine.
Candidates – all over the age of 65 — for the investigational study have already received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine more than six months prior to the administration of the pneumonia/COVID booster combination. The pneumonia vaccine candidate is known as a 20-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and is designed to protect against 20 variants of the disease.
It is currently unknown whether the immune response to the COVID-19 vaccine will wane over time. This is part of the reason for the booster included in the investigational vaccine study. A booster has the potential to significantly strengthen immunity against the disease, which has had an outsized effect on America’s aging population.
COVID-19 and Pneumonia: Threats to Senior Health
In early 2020, the novel coronavirus and its respiratory disease COVID-19 arrived in the United States. Within months, the virus had infected millions of people and killed hundreds of thousands. Among the most affected populations were those relying on nursing homes and other long-term facilities for care. According to a database compiled and maintained by the New York Times, nearly one-third of all U.S. deaths attributed to COVID-19 have been reported among the residents and employees of long-term care facilities. That equates to more than 182,000 deaths resulting from 1.3 million infections. Pharmaceutical manufacturers like Pfizer quickly developed candidate vaccines against COVID-19; by October 2020, two of the vaccines had gained emergency use authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Pneumonia refers to a class of respiratory infections caused by bacteria, viral, or fungal pathogens. Pneumonia vaccines have already been developed and have proven themselves as valuable weapons in the healthcare arsenal. Seniors living in nursing homes may be more susceptible to acquiring pneumonia owing to underlying health conditions and close quarters. Pneumonia vaccines are in use as immunization risk management programs in many healthcare facilities; these vaccines support the protection of nursing home insurance and hazard-mitigation programs in nursing homes across the country. By adopting immunization programs, nursing home managers and staff can keep residents safer.
About Caitlin Morgan
Caitlin Morgan specializes in insuring assisted living facilities and nursing homes and can assist you in providing insurance and risk management services for this niche market. Give us a call to learn more about our programs at (877) 226-1027.