Aging Well

When Will Your Loved One in Skilled Nursing Be Vaccinated?

Vaccinations in North Carolina Nursing Homes began December 28. CVS estimates that all 128,000 residents and workers in long term care facilities in the state will receive their initial shot and booster within 12 weeks.

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Residents and staff of longterm care facilities begin getting vaccinated
Liisa Ogburn

With record hospitalizations (over 3,000 everyday since December 21st) and a 13.5% test positivity rate, it would be an understatement to say many are eager to line up for the vaccine.

Of the 6,574 deaths from COVID-19 in North Carolina to date, roughly half have occurred in long term care facilities. As a result, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has developed the nation's phased vaccination plan, has assigned residents and workers in long term care facilities to Phase 1a of the vaccine rollout plan, second only to frontline healthcare workers.

Starting Monday, December 14, frontline healthcare workers in North Carolina began receiving their first shot. To date, 63,571 have received their first dose. (NCDHHS updates its vaccination dashboard, which can be viewed here, every Tuesday.)

Two weeks later, on December 28, CVS and Walgreens began providing the first shots to residents and staff in long term care facilities across the state. The CDC designates the order in which facilities will get the vaccine. Because of privacy issues, CVS and Walgreens will not share the schedule for vaccinating each community. However, once a community is informed of its date, they let staff, residents and their families know. At the same time, they educate residents and staff on the risks and benefits of the vaccine and answer any questions, as well as gather consents.

There are approximately 128,000 residents and staff in the 899 long term care facilities across the state. CVS and Walgreens estimate it will take 12 weeks to distribute vaccines to everyone in this cohort.

According to news reports, two of the first long term care facilities to receive vaccinations yesterday were Givens Highland Farms in Black Mountain and SearStone Retirement Community in Cary. Most long term care facility residents and staff will receive the Moderna vaccination, which requires a booster shot 28 days later. The Moderna vaccine does not require the special freezers that Pfizer's vaccine needs, making it easier to distribute across the state. Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are over 94% effective.

To read more about NC's vaccine distribution plan, visit here.


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