INDIANAPOLIS – Several hundred long term care facilities are still waiting to be scheduled for a COVID-19 vaccine clinic, according to the Indiana Health Care Association (IHCA).
IHCA is also still trying to find out how many nursing home residents have been vaccinated so far in the state. The state is partnering with Walgreens and CVS to administer COVID-19 vaccines to nursing home residents. The vaccine clinics launched at Indiana nursing homes on December 28.
The president of IHCA, Zach Cattell, said about 500 facilities had been scheduled for a COVID-19 vaccine clinic through Walgreens or CVS as of Tuesday. That means more than 200 centers, mostly assisted living facilities, are still awaiting dates for their vaccine clinics.
“There are a lot of frustrated nursing facilities and assisted living facilities out there because this has been such a difficult 11 months for their families and residents,” he said.
It’s been nearly 11 months since the first cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Indiana’s long term care facilities. Since then, more than 4,000 residents have died. That makes up more than half of the state’s total COVID-19 deaths.
“The residents and families are clamoring for this service,” explained Cattell.
Cattell said it is hard to say whether the pace of the vaccine rollout is too slow at this point.
“We recognize that this is a gargantuan task to organize. I recognize the increased number of clinics that have been scheduled just within the last week,” he said.
IHCA said they are encouraging CVS and Walgreens to do everything they can to schedule as quickly as possible.
There is a focus on skilled nursing facilities right now because of the higher degree of patient need. Cattell believes assisted living facilities could see vaccine clinics later this month and early February.
The doses can be administered room to room, depending on the resident’s mobility, and other clinics can be set up in an open area with assistance of medical staff.
The Indiana State Department of Health recently surveyed nursing home and assisted living facility staff to find out their willingness to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. According to the report published in late December, 45 percent of respondents indicated they would receive an approved COVID-19 vaccine as soon as available. That means 55 percent of respondents said they would not.
The survey found concerns about side effects was the primary reason for vaccine hesitancy.
“The willingness to receive the COVID‐19 vaccine immediately or in the future may be as high as 69% but varies among subgroups of nursing home staff which has implications for distribution. Educating staff on the vaccine may be critical for increasing uptake. Widespread vaccination holds the promise of protection against serious illness and death and a return of visitors and activities that support improved quality of life. This promise will not be realized without strong uptake of the vaccines,” concluded the survey.
We are also working to find out how many people in long term care facilities have received a vaccine so far. FOX59 asked the Indiana State Department of Health for an update. A spokesperson said they are looking into it.