It didn’t take long for Keith Reed, an assistant health commissioner in Oklahoma, to spot a big logistical problem with the rollout of immunization in the state. Week after week, Oklahoma was allocating thousands of valuable doses to a federal program for nursing home patients that was not using them all. In reality, tens of thousands of doses remained intact in the freezers.
So his department called an audible. It has decided to stop allocating more vaccines from Oklahoma to the federal program, a partnership with private pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens that aims to immunize residents of long-term care facilities. Instead, they would go to distribution channels that would put them in people’s arms faster.
A number of states have taken similar steps to divert supplies from the federal effort, known as the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program, a shining example of how the vaccination effort in the States- United has been chaotic so far. Some of the other states include Minnesota, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio.
Mr Reed said Oklahoma’s move would do no harm: Walgreens and CVS assured him, he said, that all residents of nursing homes across the state who needed – and wanted – be vaccinated would have the first of their two vaccines by the end. of the week.
The federal program used a formula that has been found to dramatically overestimate the number of vaccines needed for long-term care facilities like nursing homes, whose residents are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus. And another problem has arisen: a considerable number of residents and, in particular, workers in establishments refuse the possibility of being vaccinated.
A study released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in the program’s first month, 77.8% of residents and 37.5% of workers received the vaccine in the long-term care facility way. The study indicates that the actual rate for workers may be higher because some may have been vaccinated in other settings. But, even so, federal officials are particularly concerned about the number of workers who refuse vaccinations and have redoubled their efforts to change their mind.
Mr Reed said the doses Oklahoma was taking out of the federal program would go to thousands of Oklahomans aged 65 or older and not living in nursing homes.
“Our goal is to get the vaccine from freezers to someone’s arm within seven days of receiving it,” Reed said in an interview last week. “We just struggled with this amount of vaccine that was banned for us that was set aside for this program, when we could use this vaccine to go straight to Oklahomans.”
Advocates for nursing home residents are watching closely for any signs the movements will prevent their vaccinations.
“If we find that older people are not getting the vaccines they need, we are concerned,” said Lisa Sanders, a spokesperson for LeadingAge, which represents more than 5,000 nonprofit aging service providers. .