WASHINGTON—AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer Nancy A. LeaMond issued the following statement in response to ongoing COVID-19 vaccine development and distribution planning:
“COVID has taken a devastating toll on the country, with a disproportionate impact on the 65+, people who live in nursing homes and those who care for them, front line workers, and racial and ethnic minorities. It’s a national tragedy. Of the nearly 280,000 lives lost to date, more than 70% have been over the age of 65 and around 40% have been residents and staff in nursing homes.
“We are encouraged by the progress on the development and distribution of COVID vaccines. As we enter this important next phase, AARP is calling on state and federal policymakers to put in place transparent, evidence-based plans that prioritize safety and protections, particularly for those at highest risk. Vaccines must be safe, effective, affordable and widely accessible. Once they are authorized or approved, there must be full transparency about adverse events, side effects, and effectiveness, especially among the most vulnerable populations.
“AARP urges states to clearly communicate their distribution plans and engage with higher-risk groups to hear and address their concerns. Vaccines must be allocated equitably and plans need to be in place to vaccinate hard-to-reach communities, including people in rural areas and populations that historically have had less access to health care.
“When vaccines are available, Americans should talk with their health providers to decide what is best for them. It is also critical to remember that even with a vaccine, prevention measures such as wearing masks and practicing physical distancing remain essential to slowing the spread and negative impact of the coronavirus.
“AARP is committed to protecting the health and well-being of our nearly 38 million members and all Americans – and we must come together in our efforts to defeat this virus.”
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.