A panel of U.S. advisers has voted to recommend to the CDC that healthcare workers and long-term facilities should receive priority once a COVID-19 vaccine is approved.
For many long-term care residents, receiving this vaccine is a gift in itself.
”That being in and of itself is huge deal for our industry, for our residents and the safety of our staff as well,” said Myles Holyfield, an administrator at Legacy Nursing facility.
The Pfizer vaccine is said to require two doses within one month of each other.
”It is going to be a process. I think the effort is going to be making sure that folks get that second administration, so there’s a lot of work to be done, not just in giving the vaccine but also making sure that it is administered in the proper way so that it is able to fulfill its purpose,” said Holyfield.
There are three million elderly residents in long-term care facilities across the U.S., according to a presentation on immunization practices from the CDC.
”We want to make sure that we’re giving that to the highest-risked individuals. So to those who would ask, "Why are we administering the vaccine to long-term care facility residents?" I would say because they're just exactly the ones who needed it,” said Dr. Seth Sullivan, the infectious disease physician and alternate health authority of Brazos County.
According to the CDC, the vaccine will be transported from the UK using dry ice trays.
”This is an exciting advance in technology, and we can’t wait to get it here locally,” said Dr. Sullivan.
As this is a learning process for many, discussions are still underway and new information is gained daily. As of now, once transported to the state, distribution is still being determined.
”There’s not a for-sure date, other than the fact that the state is supposed to get their hands on vaccinations on about the 14th, and whatever time it takes them to distribute down the line to us, it may be a matter of a few days. It can be a matter of a week or two,” said Holyfield.
Governor Abbot announced long-term care providers should begin to receive the vaccine on December 14 from pharmacy partnerships with CVS and Walgreens. The deadline to register for the pharmacy partnership program is December 4.