At least 70 percent of Medicare-eligible seniors say they want to be vaccinated against COVID-19 “at the earliest opportunity” or soon after seeing others “safely benefiting”, according to an eight-city survey announced today by ChenMed, one of the nation’s leading primary care providers. More than 1,500 at-risk elderly in Cincinnati, Columbus, Louisville, Miami, Orlando, Philadelphia, Tampa and West Palm Beach responded to the survey during special “Ask the Doctors” telephone town halls hosted by ChenMed during the past 10 days.
The hyper-growth medical practice was recently spotlighted in a 400-person University of Miami research study showing that seniors diagnosed with coronavirus infections, who benefit from the high-touch primary care it provides, are 40 percent less likely to die from those infections. ChenMed has hosted more than 175 “Ask the Doctors” town halls as a community service, educating more than 600,000 seniors about coronavirus risks and preventive measures since April 2020. Committed to helping the maximum number of interested seniors receive a coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible, ChenMed already has invested more than $200,000 to equip Chen, Dedicated and JenCare Senior Medical Centers with the upgraded cold storage needed to safely receive and deliver coronavirus vaccines.
“Reducing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations especially among seniors is vital, and it’s wonderful news that healthcare workers and seniors in nursing homes are rapidly receiving coronavirus vaccines in cities across America,” said Gordon Chen, M.D., chief medical officer at ChenMed. “Our doctors will continue to be champions for seniors, doing whatever we can to speed access to the coronavirus vaccines that so many clearly want and need as soon as possible.”
Adults ages 65 and older, especially those with underlying health conditions, have heightened risk from coronavirus infections. So, it is not surprising that demand for highly-effective COVID-19 vaccines is more than twice that for the shingles vaccine (34.2% adoption), and also higher than adoption rates for the influenza (flu) and pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccines, reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
According to board-certified infectious disease specialist Jason Lane, M.D., ChenMed national medical director of clinical strategy and outcomes, “Right now, every senior should be staying in touch with his or her primary care doctor about the coronavirus vaccine. And soon, once seniors having the highest risks from the pandemic are vaccinated, every adult should receive a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available to them. Only together can we defeat this highly-contagious virus.”
There was some market-specific variation in survey responses, with highest demand for coronavirus vaccines reported for Louisville (79.2 percent), Columbus (71.9 percent), and West Palm Beach (71.3%), where seniors say they intend to get a COVID-19 vaccine “at the earliest convenience” or after seeing “others safely benefiting” for several months. This heightened demand dovetails nicely with the multiple phases of vaccine distributions (e.g., Pfizer, Moderna, Astra Zeneca, Johnson and Johnson, etc.) approved or expected to be approved for emergency use authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).