There are calls on governors and state health agencies to allocate the new vaccine to long term care residents and staff as soon as possible.

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and assisted living communities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, released the following statement in response to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approving emergency use authorization for Pfizer and BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine.

The following statement is attributable to Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL:

“On behalf of the long term industry, we welcome the decision by the FDA to approve emergency use authorization to expedite the distribution of a COVID vaccine.”

“The delivery of a safe and effective vaccine can’t come soon enough. More than 100,000 in long term care have died from this virus in the U.S. and our nursing homes are now experiencing the worst outbreak of new cases since last spring with more than 2,000 residents succumbing to this virus each week.”

“Given the asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spread of this virus combined with the significant increase of community spread across the U.S., time is of the essence and these vaccines will literally be a lifesaver for thousands of residents, and expedite the reopening of our facilities to family members and loved ones.”

“A one-month delay in distributing the vaccine to all long term care residents and caregivers, could result in more than 20,000 of our residents losing their life when a vaccine could protect them. We’re in a life or death race against the clock.”

“It is vital that governors and state health agencies are ready to distribute the vaccine to our long term care residents and staff as soon as possible to save as many lives as possible.”

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