Local nursing homes expect to start vaccinating the most vulnerable of their residents quickly, according to local sources. Shook Home’s skilled nursing facility expects to start inoculating its residents Saturday.
The state initially contracted with Walgreen’s to inoculate Skilled Nursing Facilities’ residents and staff, according to Jeff Truhan, CEO & Administrator of The Shook Home in Chambersburg. CVS was to inoculate the Personal Care Homes’ residents and staff.
Skilled Nursing Facilities were the first to get the vaccine, beginning Dec. 28. Personal Care Homes didn’t start to receive theirs until mid January.
“This is consistent with the state’s plan,” he said. “Skilled Nursing Facilities were the highest priority followed by Personal Care Homes, and then Continuing Care Retirement Communities.”
It is hard to know how many local nursing homes have been able to begin vaccinating their residents against the deadly virus blamed for so many deaths of elderly residents. It’s not something they don’t report to the public; and it is not yet on DOH’s public charts.
“I can’t speak to the other facilities in the area,” Truhan said. “We are scheduled to have our first vaccine clinic in the Skilled Nursing Facility Jan. 23 (Saturday) and the first vaccine clinic in the Personal Care Home Jan. 28.”
DHS adds Rite Aid to the mix
DHS just released a notice saying the department has also contracted with Rite Aid to inoculate both Skilled Nursing Facilities and Personal Care Homes.
“I think the state is trying to expediate the process by bringing another pharmacy into the program,” Truhan said.
Shook was first told a vaccine clinic for its Skilled Nursing Facility wouldn’t be available until March; then the date got pushed up.
Keystone Health stepped in and offered to inoculate Shook’s eligible staff who opted to receive the vaccine. That first clinic happened January 14.
Manor Care in Chambersburg is under the banner of ProMedica Senior Care. Its website says it is partnering with CVS Health for the CDC’s Pharmacy Partnership for Long Term Care Program.
“CVS will be administering COVID-19 vaccine to our patients, residents and employees who have not previously received the vaccine,” according to the website. It is unknown if the vaccination process has begun there yet.
DHS’s partnership with Rite Aid begins January 27. Vaccinations will take place on-site at facilities where individuals served are not able to travel to a clinic site.
Speeding up vaccine availability
This effort is separate from the Retail Pharmacy Partnership program, and vaccinations will not take place at Rite Aid retail pharmacies as part of this partnership for DHS-licensed facilities.
DHS will contact facilities with details to help them prepare for vaccinations and vaccination clinic schedules for their area, according to the DOH news release.
DOH has released a map of vaccine providers that can administer a COVID-19 vaccine to anyone covered by Phase 1A. Anyone covered under Phase 1A can contact these providers to check availability and schedule a vaccination.