With assurances to provide help as needed, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention is sharing vaccine access information ahead of the federal COVID-19 vaccine booster shot approvals expected to come this week.

“The goal is to continue to protect those who are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 — especially residents of LTC settings,” the agency wrote in “COVID-19 Vaccine Access in Long-term Care Settings,” a jumping-off point for a series of informational webpages published late last week.

If CDC’s advisers make a recommendation on booster doses for people living and working in LTC settings, the agency said it plans to update this webpages accordingly.

“All LTC settings that request assistance in accessing COVID-19 vaccines for their residents and staff will receive the support they need,” the agency said.

The new CDC information directs long-term care providers to a variety of COVID-19 vaccine access points and suggests troubleshooting options. For providers who encounter difficulties arranging COVID-19 vaccination for residents and staff, contacting state or local health department immunization programs is the first stop for assistance, the agency advised.

If these local programs are unable to help find a vaccine source, CDC is available as a “safety net support,” it said. In these cases, LTC providers may contact CDC INFO at 800-232-4636.

Many providers are already working with established LTC partners and retail pharmacy partners or coordinating with state and local health departments to provide vaccines, and to gear up for potential booster dose administration, the agency said. CDC is encouraging LTC providers to consider what will work best for residents and staff members when making the decision whether to access vaccines in the community or on-site. 

On-site and community access

A visit to a nearby pharmacy or healthcare provider’s office may be the fastest way to get vaccinated for residents and staff who are willing and able to travel, CDC said. But providers may also wish to consider providing travel options. Potential sources of travel help include the Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL), set up to help people with disabilities get vaccinated, at 1-888-677-1199 or [email protected].

For on-site vaccination, providers may request support from a pharmacy partner enrolled in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. See Connecting Long-Term Care Settings with Federal Pharmacy Partners for links and contact information.

Related CDC vaccine information:

COVID-19 Vaccine Access in Long-term Care Settings

Long-term Care Administrators and Managers: Options for Coordinating Access to COVID-19 Vaccines

COVID-19 Vaccines for Moderately to Severely Immunocompromised People