A large number of nursing homes in the United States are set to receive Covid-19 vaccines starting Monday, as the country works to inoculate some of its most vulnerable citizens and free them from several months of detention.
Nursing homes have been hit the hardest by the severity of Covid-19 in the United States. At least one-third of the country’s more than 305,000 deaths have been reported among residents and workers of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities for the elderly, while more than 787,000 staff and residents were infected. Most homes have been closed to visitors since the early days of the pandemic, leaving residents feeling lonely and isolated.
Vaccinations began in the United States last week, with health workers on the front lines. The effort spread to long-term care facilities, as conditions there deteriorated again, with nearly 20,000 cases and about 5,000 deaths reported per week, according to the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living.
Some states, including West Virginia, Connecticut, Delaware and Florida, began administering vaccines in long-term care facilities last week. Homes are expected to remain closed until relatives of residents have been vaccinated.
At The Cedars, a retirement community in Portland, Maine, Walgreens pharmacists are expected to arrive at 8:30 a.m. Monday to administer vaccines to residents and staff. “There will be a lot of party in the air,” said Katharine O’Neill, director of operations and communications.
In New York, the association of state health facilities – which includes 425 trained nurses Assisted Living and Residential Homes – has been working with state and federal governments for about two months to plan how the vaccine will be administered, said Stephen Hanse, president and CEO of the association.
Most homes will receive the vaccine through CVS Pharmacy or Walgreens, under an agreement with the federal government, and residents will likely be vaccinated in their rooms, while staff will receive doses in separate spaces, said Mr. Hanse.
There will be vaccination celebrations, probably mixed with the holiday season. Morale is higher than it has been throughout the pandemic, Mr Hanse said, as vaccines give residents hope that they will soon be able to see loved ones in person after many months of solitude. “One of the things that’s really at stake here. also, especially in New York, was the inability for family and relatives to visit with their families, ”he said.
In Fairborn, Ohio, at the Wright Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, the first doses of the vaccine are expected to arrive in the first week of January, said Greg Nijak, executive director of the facility.
Preparations focused on obtaining consent forms for the vaccines and disseminating information on vaccine safety. “
Elsewhere, there is concern. At the Martha T. Berry health care facility outside of Detroit, a recent survey found that less than half of the staff wanted to be vaccinated. “Our staff are mostly skeptical,” Kevin Evans, the facility’s executive director, said in an email.
The facility has launched an information campaign for residents and staff. Despite employee apprehension, residents are eager for the arrival of vaccines, which the facility intends to celebrate.
“While we have multiple FaceTime and Skype and Window visits,” Mr. Evans said, “it‘s not the same as a hug from a son, daughter or grandchild.