This week, COVID-19 vaccination began in earnest in Ohio’s nursing homes.
Older Ohioans and their professional caregivers were identified by the Department of Health & Human Services as priority “1A,” but ultimately allowed each state to develop and implement their own vaccination plan. While drug manufacturers work to ramp up production, only a minority of this high-priority group will be initially vaccinated, beginning with hospitals and nursing homes.
Hospitals will rely on their in-house pharmacies to deliver vaccinations, while Ohio’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities have been assigned to one of four pharmacies statewide: Absolute Pharmacy, CVS, Pharmscript, and Walgreens. Pharmacy partners are critically important, since very few long-term care facilities have the ability to store the vaccination in accordance with the manufacturer’s stringent refrigeration requirements. Local health departments are recipients of the vaccine as well and will work to ensure vaccination of priority populations within the community.
Each nursing home and assisted living facility will be scheduled for three clinic dates at least three weeks apart, allowing the maximum number of individuals to receive the complete, two-dose series of the vaccine. Three clinic dates allow for some individuals who may miss a second dose, or who may not be initially willing to receive the vaccine but later change their mind.
As providers wait for their first clinic date, there is a clear sense of urgency and anticipation. As cases climb and infiltrate even the most meticulous facilities, each day that passes carries the risk of more spread and harm. LeadingAge Ohio is grateful for all of the people within Ohio’s government agencies, pharmacies and provider community that are working day and night to protect the lives of others.