Nursing homes and assisted living facilities prepare for COVID-19 vaccine

Posted at 5:51 PM, Dec 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-29 17:55:29-05

LANSING, Mich. (WSYM) — Skilled nursing home residents and staff have started receiving the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Michigan.

They are a part of Phase 1A, which includes paid and unpaid persons serving in healthcare settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and are unable to work from home as well as residents in long term care facilities.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is partnering with CVS and Walgreens to administer them.

Nursing homes have been prioritized due to the revelation that early on in the pandemic that COVID-19 spreads widely in congregate care settings. Their elderly residents are a part of a vulnerable population for serious illness or death due to COVID-19.

It’s been months of talking to loved ones through the glass of a window with no direct contact. Nursing homes are now hoping the vaccine means those days are close to an end and resident’s lives can change for the better.

Staff and residents who opt-in at Holt Senior Care and Rehab Center are expected to receive their vaccine in mid-January.

Right now, vaccines are strictly being given to skilled nursing facilities. However, vaccines will soon be extended to assisted living facilities like Vista Springs in Lansing.

Even when the facilities receive the vaccine, some residents or staff may not want to take it. Because of this, the vaccine will be an added safety measure, meaning other restrictions will stick around for a while.

Along with assisted living facilities, the vaccine will then go to personal care homes, residential care, adult family homes, adult foster homes, HUD supportive housing for the elderly, and veterans’ homes.

MDHHS says so far more than 5,000 long-term care facilities have been enrolled in the program to receive the Moderna vaccine.

They estimate it will take about three weeks to complete vaccinations.