Tags: Coronavirus | assisted living | nursing homes | covid-19 | vaccinations

While Nursing Home Residents Get Vaccinated, Those in Assisted Living Are Left Behind

While Nursing Home Residents Get Vaccinated, Those in Assisted Living Are Left Behind
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Friday, 22 January 2021 04:54 PM

Vulnerable people residing in assisted living facilities are in a high-risk situation, just like those in nursing homes. But the rollout plan for COVID-19 vaccines doesn’t prioritize this group of people in the first phase of nationwide inoculations. These older individuals who are physically independent but often still need medical care are living in the same communal facilities that put nursing home residents at increased risk of contracting the virus.

According to ABC News, assisted living facilities — or ALFs — are not federally regulated, so there is no data available on how COVID-19 has affected this group of people.

''The risk of community spread and transmission in an assisted living facility is just as high as in a nursing home,'' said Zach Shamberg, president of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association. In Pennsylvania, assisted living residents were not among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, causing a wait of several months before it would be their turn. However, last week Gov. Tom Wolf announced an expansion of vaccine distribution in that state that would include those living in assisted living residents in Phase 1A.

Shamberg told ABC News that with the current pace of administering the drug in Pennsylvania, many assisted living residents may not get their second shot until April or May, or even later.

''We are talking about potentially still vaccinating our most vulnerable residents in the summer months,'' he said. Experts say that assisted living residents have fallen through the cracks because public health officials thought there was only enough vaccine for those in nursing homes.

Even in states that have included assisted living residents in their vaccine distribution plan, there have been delays and snafus.

These issues have many facility administrators frustrated. Robert Loomis, the administrator for A Country Place, an assisted living residence in the Tampa Bay area, said he was forced to call Walgreens, one of the two pharmacies charged to deliver vaccines to nationwide nursing homes, to plea with the pharmacy to step up the pace.

''My frustration was with the way the decisions were made with the shots,'' he told the Tampa Bay Times. ''Weeks passed and we were seeing massive distribution to the public, but not to us.''

CVS and Walgreen pharmacies are administering the drugs at long-term care facilities through the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program.

Veronica Catoe, CEO of the Florida Assisted Living Association, told the Times that there remains ''frustration and confusion over the initial rollout of vaccinations in ALF’s and why these communities have been prioritized behind nursing homes and many in the general 65-and-older populations.''

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Vulnerable people residing in assisted living facilities are in a high-risk situation, just like those in nursing homes. But the rollout plan for COVID-19 vaccines doesn't prioritize this group of people in the first phase of nationwide inoculations. These older individuals...
assisted living, nursing homes, covid-19, vaccinations
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2021-54-22
Friday, 22 January 2021 04:54 PM
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