A pair of prominent lawmakers are urging the federal government to provide ongoing data updates about the progress of its COVID-19 vaccination program at long-term care facilities in a push for more transparency.
Sens. Robert Casey (D-PA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) issued the call to action in late December in a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, saying the effort should fold into CMS’ current data collection and reporting standards. CMS started posting COVID-related nursing home data online in June, and the numbers are updated on a weekly basis.
The senators noted that though most states had begun vaccinations at facilities, nearly a dozen reported that some weekly allocations were less than expected. They added that delays experienced by CVS Health and Walgreens, who were contracted to administer the doses in facilities, have also been a top concern during the process.
“Given the range of issues affecting COVID-19 vaccine delivery to nursing homes and the devastating death toll in these facilities, the collection and dissemination of similar data regarding vaccine distribution is warranted,” Wyden and Casey wrote.
“While CVS and Walgreens are required to provide vaccination data to government health authorities, it is not clear that the Trump Administration has any plan to make nursing home vaccination data available to the public,” the senators added.
The two stressed the need for nursing homes to begin reporting the number of residents and workers who have received COVID-19 vaccines.
“These data should, in turn, be included in the weekly COVID-19 reports issued by CMS. Going forward, COVID-19 vaccination data should be included in Minimum Data Set reporting requirements and Nursing Home Compare — similar to flu and pneumonia vaccines,” they concluded.