A pharmacist writes a prescription

Five medical societies have collaborated to create and release a new toolkit they say will help clinicians increase the effectiveness, accessibility and awareness of oral antiviral therapeutics and COVID-19 booster vaccines, reports the Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (AMDA), a co-author.

The toolkit addresses ongoing concerns among public health officials and clinicians regarding an anticipated “tripledemic” of COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) this winter season, said Christopher E. Laxton, CAE, executive director of AMDA.

Along with an expected uptick in these respiratory diseases, “we see new COVID variants increasing in prevalence and able to evade some of our key therapeutics. That means it’s more important than ever to make sure everyone is protected,” Laxton said in a statement.

Ordering meds, answering questions

The publication, titled “COVID-19 Vaccination and Therapeutics in PALTC Toolkit: Resources for Clinicians,” covers a range of topics, including prescribing and ordering medications. Other resources include communication aids to help better inform patients about the growing evidence for the effectiveness of updated, bivalent vaccines and antiviral therapeutics such as Paxlovid. The latter drug has been credited with helping keep COVID-19 hospitalizations low last spring.

The kit also includes resources that provide background on the recently approved Novavax vaccine. It was hoped that this shot would appeal to vaccine-hesitant patients who do not wish to get an mRNA shot. Novavax’s vaccine uses older, established vaccination technology.

Another section of the kit tackles considerations for nursing home residents when COVID-19 and influenza are circulating simultaneously.

Vaccination campaign

A recent meeting with the White House’s COVID-19 Response Team sparked the idea for the tookit, AMDA said. The Biden administration is campaigning to increase the number of Americans getting COVID-19 boosters in an effort to forestall widespread illness and potential hospital overload. RSV in children has already caused spillover into the adult wards of some hospitals. 

Along with AMDA, other toolkit authors include the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP), the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), the American Academy of Physician Associates (AAPA) and the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association (GAPNA).

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