It didn’t take Keith Reed, a deputy health commissioner in Oklahoma, long to solve a major logistic problem with the state’s vaccination rollout. Week after week, the Oklahoma nursing home was allocating thousands of precious doses to a federal program for patients not using them all. In fact, Tens of thousands of doses were untouched in the freezer.
Hence his department called an audible. It decided to stop allocating any greater portion of Oklahoma’s vaccine supply to the federal program, a partnership with private pharmacies such as CVS and Walgren to vaccinate residents of long-term care facilities. Instead, they move to distribution channels that will rapidly propel them into people’s arms.
Several states made similar moves to move supplies from the federal effort known as the Pharmacy Partnership to Long-Term Care Program, an example of how chaotic vaccination efforts have been so far in the US. Some other states include Minnesota, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio.
Mr. Reid said Oklahoma’s move would not do any harm: Walgreens and CVS have assured him, he said, that all nursing home residents in the state needed – and had to be vaccinated – in their two shots by the end. Will be the first of the week.
The federal program used a formula for how many shots would be needed for long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, whose residents are particularly vulnerable to coronovirus. And another problem arose: a significant number of residents and, in particular, employees working at the facilities are reducing the chance of vaccination.
A study released on Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found it In the first month of the program, 77.8 percent of residents and 37.5 percent of workers received the vaccine for an average long-term care facility. The study says that the true rate for workers may be higher because the vaccine may have been vaccinated in some other settings. But, even then, federal officials are particularly concerned about how many activists are refusing vaccinations, and are stepping up efforts to change their minds.
Mr. Reed said that Oklahoma was taking supplements. The federal program would have thousands of Oklahomans who are 65 or over and not living in nursing homes.
“Our goal is to take the vaccine from the freezer into a person’s arm, within seven days of receiving it,” Mr. Reid said in an interview last week. “We had a difficult time with the amount of the vaccine off-limits that we were set aside for this program, when we could use that vaccine to go directly to the Oklahomans.”
Advocates for nursing home residents are watching closely for any indication that the moves will disrupt their immunization.
“If we find that older adults aren’t getting the vaccines they need, it’s about us,” said LeadingEdge spokesman Lisa Sanders, who represents more than 5,000 nonprofit aging service providers Does.