WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal health officials are unveiling a plan to get approved coronavirus shots to nursing home residents free of cost, with the aid of two national pharmacy chains.
No vaccine has yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and the distribution program is contingent on that happening first.
Trained staff from CVS and Walgreens will deliver the vaccines to each nursing home and administer shots.
Assisted-living facilities and residential group homes can also participate in the voluntary program.
Nursing home staffers can be vaccinated too, if they haven’t gotten their shots already.
The idea is to give hard-pressed states an all-inclusive system for vaccinating their most vulnerable residents, said Paul Mango, a senior policy adviser at the Department of Health and Human Services. “We are trying to eliminate all potential barriers to getting folks safe and effective vaccines,” Mango said.
People in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities account for less than 1% of the U.S. population, but they represent about 40% of the deaths from COVID-19, with more than 83,600 fatalities logged by the COVID Tracking Project.
Needles, syringes and other necessary equipment will be included.