The leader of a New Hampshire nursing home said it regrets not having its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan reviewed by state health officials before providing doses to some of the facility’s volunteer board members.
A report by the New Hampshire Union Leader found that Webster at Rye, a 61-bed facility providing skilled nursing and assisted living care in Rye, NH, scheduled some of its board members to receive the vaccine along with staff members during its first vaccine clinic in late December.
The facility partnered with CVS Health to administer the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to residents and workers. CEO and Administrator Tom Argue explained that all of its nursing home and assisted living residents received their first vaccine dose and the first staff to receive theirs were nurses and nurse aides.
“CVS informed the facility that all staff, both paid and unpaid, who were interested in receiving the vaccinations would receive the first dose at a clinic scheduled on Dec. 30,” Argue explained Thursday in a statement to McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.
Argue said facility leaders interpreted the “unpaid and paid” description to also include volunteers and consults.
“The decision was made to include our volunteer governing board in those receiving the vaccine based on their fiduciary responsibility to oversee the operation as directors, the age of most of them, and their responsibility to on occasion come into the facility to review operational issues, even during the COVID pandemic,” he explained.
Argue said the board members were asked to come in at the end of the day to receive the vaccine after all staff members and residents had received their doses.
“In retrospect, we recognize we had a responsibility to have this decision reviewed and approved at the state level before making a final decision and regret this oversight,” Ague said. “We are grateful that Webster at Rye has not had a single COVID-19 case in our resident population and thank our employees, residents and their families for working with us to ensure the safety of those in our care.”
While all of its nursing home and assisted living residents received the first dose of the vaccine, Argue also noted that a “significant number of employees” opted out of the first vaccine clinic. The next clinic is scheduled for next week and the facility expects employee participation to increase from 65% to 90%.