Over 40% of all COVID-19 deaths are linked to long-term care
Official puts nursing homes first in line ahead of vote
During a visit to vaccine developer Novavax, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced plans to give nursing home residents and staff top priority once an effective product is ready. The news coincides with a major declaration from the biotechnology company: the third and final round of efficacy trials for the COVID-19 vaccine has begun.
Novavax is the tenth coronavirus vaccine candidate to reach this important ‘Phase 3’ milestone. At least 25% of trial participants will be over the age of 65 and according to researchers, they will prioritize the hardest hit groups “including racial and ethnic minorities.” The company has also pledged to only submit a vaccine for FDA review once it’s been proven safe in trials, as others have attempted to rush to market.
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First round pick: nursing homes
Hogan’s pledge represents a major move from Maryland as more and more states formulate their official vaccination plans. While President Trump has already promised top priority to senior citizens and those living in nursing homes, the feds have delayed a scheduled CDC vote on the matter. The committee will not reconvene until late October.
In Maryland, officials will distribute first-round vaccinations to nursing home and assisted living residents and staff; to people who attend and work at senior day care centers; and to other healthcare workers, public safety officials, educators, and essential personnel.
While the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is waiting on more data prior to a formal decision, experts predict federal and state officials to follow Maryland’s order.
In general, vaccines typically take up to a decade to come to market. But in the case of the 2020 coronavirus, global efforts have been kicked into overdrive. The Trump administration is hoping for distribution as early as November, while the FDA predicts mid-year 2021. By comparison, the “fastest-ever vaccine—for the mumps—required four years in the 1960s,” according to National Geographic.
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