Two months after most U.S. long-term care operators signed on to a federally run COVID-19 vaccination program, the first residents and staff members have begun receiving their shots.
CVS Health and Walgreens each announced Friday that its pharmacists had started administering onsite shots in certain localities as part of the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-term Care Program. When and where shots are given will depend in part on when states finalize distribution plans and on when vaccine allocations arrive in those localities.
Ohio and Connecticut were the first stops for Walgreens, which began vaccinating at skilled nursing facilities and assisted living communities in those states on Friday. This week, it plans to administer vaccinations in approximately 800 long-term care facilities across 12 states, it reported. Moving forward, the company and its partner PharMerica are scheduled to vaccinate about three million residents and staff at 35,000 long-term care facilities.
Also on Friday, CVS Health officials watched a skilled nursing facility resident receive their first vaccination in West Hartford, CT. That day, there were plans to vaccinate about 500 people at three Connecticut facilities and approximately 1,000 people at four facilities in Ohio, the company told CNBC.
Meanwhile, the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living have kicked off a branded campaign to encourage residents and staff to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Materials have been shared with member facilities and communities nationwide, the organization said. In addition, a hashtag — #GetVaccinated — has been created to raise awareness online, especially among residents’ family members.
“The faster we get people vaccinated, the more lives we can save,” said Mark Parkinson, AHCA/NCAL president and CEO, in a Friday statement. “While delivery of a vaccine is an important milestone, it will only work if people take it.”