COVID vaccine distribution to begin in PA nursing homes

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EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — We’ve reached a big milestone in Pennsylvania. Monday, residents and staff in nursing homes across the commonwealth began to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.

More than 120 nursing facilities in Pennsylvania will administer coronavirus vaccines this week.
The question that remains is which facilities will receive them first and when.

“Today starts the federal-pharmacy partnership to vaccinate residents and staff of long-term care facilities,” said Dr. Rachel Levine, PA Secretary of Health.

This week, 126 skilled-nursing facilities in Pennsylvania are set to get their first doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.

Through the federal government’s “Operation Warp Speed,” CVS and Walgreens will provide the vaccine.

“They select the locations and they will deliver the vaccine and conduct the vaccination clinics,” said Dr. Levine.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health says the pharmacies will report how many vaccinations they have administered.

“But we don’t know exactly how quickly that information will be available… but it will be at least 72 hours after the vaccine administration,” said Dr. Levine.

In Pennsylvania, residents and staff at nursing homes are vaccinated first, then the vaccine rollout will begin at other long-term care locations.

“Such as personal care homes, assisted living facilities, residential treatment facilities for adults and private intermediate care facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities.”

The state expects the majority of residents and staff will opt-in to receive the vaccine.

Eyewitness News caught up with a Kingston resident whose mother resides in Timber Ridge Health Care Center.

“It hurts not to see her,” said David Hughes.

He says the news of the vaccine rolling into nursing homes is comforting.

“We’re making progress that’s the main thing. I think she’ll be getting hers in a couple more weeks.”

“As a matter of fact this week I am going up there to sign the papers so she can receive the vaccine.”

Dr. Levine says guardians of Alzheimer’s or dementia patients will need to give consent like any other medical procedure. A complete list of the facilities has not been released yet, but that information is expected to be available later this week.

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