COVID-19 Vaccination Behind Schedule, Experts Warn.
USA Today (1/5, Weintraub) reports COVID-19 vaccines “have been distributed behind the government’s initial schedule,” and “about 70%...are sitting on pharmacy shelves.” Furthermore, “only about 14% of doses destined for nursing home residents and caregivers have been injected.” However, experts say it is “not too late to turn the situation around,” but call for a “host of improvements, including more money, additional staffing and greater experience with vaccines that have been shown to be safe and effective but not so easy to use.” The article quotes NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Speed Of COVID-19 Vaccine Administration For Long-Term Care Residents, Staff Varies By State.
NPR (1/5, Stone) reports the speed at which long-term care facilities’ residents and staff are receiving COVID-19 vaccine “doses varies significantly from state to state.” AHCA/NCAL president and CEO Mark Parkinson said, “Every week that the vaccine is delayed in long-term care facilities will mean at least an additional 4,000 to 6,000 deaths.” Zach Shamberg with the Pennsylvania Health Care Association said, “Since day one of the pandemic, we have fought for one thing, and that’s prioritization,” adding, “It’s no different now than it was 10 or 11 months ago. ... And unfortunately, we as a state – and in some cases we as a nation – have not learned our lessons.” Shamberg said “some of his members aren’t scheduled to get their first doses until the end of January or even early February.”
KTTV-TV Los Angeles (1/5, Katsuyama) reports, “California’s governor says the state has administered about 35% of the 1.2 million doses received so far, with another 600,000 vaccine doses expected to be added soon to the state’s supply.” California Association of Health Facilities spokeswoman Deborah Pacyna “says just getting shots to the state’s 235,000 skilled nursing center staff and residents could stretch through February.” Pacyna added, “It got off to a slow start because of the Christmas holiday. But now that we’re in January, a lot of facilities are scheduled to get their shots in the next couple weeks.”
Florida Nursing Home Vaccinated Wealthy Donors.
The Washington Post (1/5, Boburg) reports Keith Myers, the CEO of MorseLife Health System, “a high-end nursing home and assisted-living facility in West Palm Beach, Fla.,” has made “scarce coronavirus vaccines – provided through a federal program intended for residents and staff of long-term-care facilities – available not just to its residents but to board members and those who made generous donations to the facility, including members of the Palm Beach Country Club, according to multiple people who were offered access, some of whom accepted it.” The article adds the vaccinations, “in appearing to rely on a program run by chain pharmacies for nursing home residents and staff, may have violated national immunization guidelines, as well as state protocols, even though state officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to address sensitive matters, acknowledged that the rules have not been spelled out clearly enough by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).”
Colorado Health Department Says Essential Workers Should Not Receive COVID-19 Vaccine Until After People Aged 70 And Older.
The Denver Post (1/5, Ricciardi, Seaman) reports that “amid confusion over Colorado’s vaccination plan, the state health department clarified Tuesday that essential workers, including teachers, should not be inoculated against COVID-19 until after health care workers, first responders and people 70 and older receive their shots.” The Colorado “agency sent a letter to providers further illuminating Colorado’s vaccine priorities as at least two Denver-area school districts announced they would begin vaccinating teachers as early as next week – plans that those districts’ local health department said must now be halted.”
Coronavirus Vaccinations For Nevada Residents 75 And Older Expected To Begin Soon.
The AP (1/5) reports, “Coronavirus vaccinations for people 75 and older in” Nevada “could begin at pharmacies as soon as next week, health officials say.” The AP adds, “Nevada Health and Human Services spokeswoman Shannon Litz did not provide a specific time frame but said multiple counties, including Clark County, could ‘soon’ begin vaccinating people in the state’s second-tier priority group, which includes older people.” CVS spokeswoman Monica Prinzing said, “Timing of vaccine availability at retail will be determined by the states in coordination with” the CDC.
Ohio To Begin COVID-19 Vaccinations For Older Residents, School Employees In Two Weeks.
The Columbus (OH) Dispatch (1/5, Ludlow) reports that while “details remain to be announced,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) “says COVID-19 vaccinations soon can be offered to the first of more than 2 million Ohioans, including those age 65 and over and school employees, in the next phase.” DeWine on Tuesday “said...that the first shot of the two-shot vaccine regimens should be administered beginning in about two weeks to about 1.8 million potentially vulnerable older Ohioans and up to 300,000 school teachers and employees.”
Arkansas Adjusts COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout.
The AP (1/5, DeMillo) reports “Arkansas on Tuesday adjusted its rollout of the coronavirus vaccine as the state’s virus patients in the hospital continued hitting record levels.” Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) “said the state will move police, firefighters and other first responders to the first phase of vaccines being administered.” The governor “said the state is also adjusting the second phase to include people 70 and other, rather than the original plan that called for people 75 and older.”
Hawaii Officials Plan To Have Residents Make Online Reservations For COVID-19 Vaccine.
The AP (1/5, McAvoy) reports “Hawaii officials said Tuesday they plan to have people make online reservations to receive the coronavirus vaccine in order to avoid crowding and long lines at distribution centers.” Libby Char, “director of the state Department of Health, said online reservations will allow officials to match capacity with those receiving doses.” Char “said she wants to avoid scenes witnessed in Florida, where older adults waited in long lines to receive the vaccine on a first-come first-serve basis.”
Louisiana Health Officials Urge Hospitals To Use Extra COVID-19 Vaccine Doses To Immunize Residents Aged 70 And Older.
The AP (1/5, Deslatte) reports “Louisiana’s health department encouraged hospitals on Tuesday to use their extra doses of the coronavirus vaccine to immunize people aged 70 and older, bidding to boost the limited supply available to hundreds of thousands of people newly eligible for the vaccine under state guidelines.” Louisiana hospitals “have received thousands of Pfizer vaccine doses for their own workers and continue to receive new doses weekly.” Health officials “said some facilities have excess, and the agency wants those steered to the groups that became eligible for vaccines this week under an expansion decided by Gov. John Bel Edwards.”
Officials In Philadelphia, Montgomery County Predict They Could Start Offering COVID-19 Vaccine To Second Group Of Recipients By February.
The Philadelphia Inquirer (1/5, McDaniel, Walsh, Laughlin, McCarthy) reports “both Philadelphia and Montgomery County predicted Tuesday they might be able to begin offering coronavirus vaccinations to the second wave of recipients – likely essential workers and older seniors – as soon as February.” However, “the officials across the state and region say how quickly the vaccine becomes available to a wider pool of people is dependent on how quickly more doses arrive from the federal government, and the city’s top health official had some sobering news: If that pace doesn’t increase, it could be more than a year before all of Philadelphia is fully vaccinated.”
Richmond, Henrico Health Districts In Virginia Anticipate Vaccinating Frontline Essential Workers, Residents Older Than 75 Next Month.
The Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch (1/5, Moreno) reports that in Virginia, “Richmond and Henrico Health Districts announced Tuesday that they anticipate vaccinating front-line essential workers and people over the age of 75 in February.” This upcoming “tier includes grocery store employees, public transit workers, police officers and teachers per guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” The announcement marks “one of the first local health departments in Virginia to release a timeline for those next in line to receive a COVID-19 vaccine dose.”
Maryland Governor Announces Plan To Improve COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout.
The AP (1/5, Witte) reports “Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced steps on Tuesday to speed up vaccinations against COVID-19 to ‘get more shots into more arms.’” Beginning Wednesday, Hogan “said the National Guard will begin to dispatch emergency vaccination support teams across the state to help local health departments to expand vaccination capacity.” Every “team will have 14 guard members to help provide logistical support for vaccination clinics.” Hogan “said he is issuing an executive order to require all providers to report data to the state within 24 hours after vaccines have been administered. The data will be made public.”
The Washington Post (1/5, Cox, Tan, Fadulu) reports similarly that “Hogan announced Tuesday he will deploy the state’s National Guard to hasten local health departments’ inoculation of medical workers, while threatening to take away unused vaccines from hospitals slow to administer them.” Hogan “also said he may withhold additional doses from any hospital, contractor, pharmacy or health department that has not used 75 percent of its supply.”
The Hill (1/5, Weixel) reports Phase 1A of the vaccine rollout, “which is ongoing, will now include all licensed and certified health providers, as well as first responders like firefighters, police and EMS.” Later on, “Phase 1B will include all Maryland residents over age 75, as well as high-risk inmates, teachers, people living in special needs group homes and vaccines for people involved in ‘continuity of government.’”
The Baltimore Sun (1/5, Wood, Stole) reports “Hogan also said he pressed the leaders of the pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens, which are handling nursing home vaccinations in Maryland as part of a contract with the federal government, about the pace of their vaccinations and reporting.” Hogan “said he contacted U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Tuesday ‘to express our serious concerns about the pace of the federal nursing home/pharmacy program.’”
Marylanders With Intellectual Disabilities Who Reside In Group Homes Will Be Eligible For COVID-19 Vaccine Soon.
The Washington Post (1/5, Tan) reports “thousands of Marylanders with intellectual disabilities who live in group homes, and those who care for them, learned Tuesday that they would soon be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine, putting an end to weeks of lobbying and worry.” Maryland “Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said residents and staff of ‘special-needs group homes’ will be included in Phase 1B of the state’s vaccination plan, along with individuals over 75, teachers and child-care workers.” This group “could start receiving doses of the vaccine by late January, Hogan said.”
Just 14% Of COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Distributed To Nursing Homes Have Been Administered, CDC Data Indicate.
Axios (1/5, Fernandez, Owens) reports “only about 14% of the roughly 2.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses distributed to nursing home residents and staff have been administered, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” According to Axios, “the slower-than-ideal rollout illustrates the complexity of vaccinating what should be one of the easiest populations to reach – and one that remains extremely vulnerable to the virus.” CVS “began administering shots in 12 states the week of Dec. 21, and in another 36 states plus Washington, D.C. last week.”
Virginia Long-Term Care Facilities To Receive Coronavirus Vaccines In Coming Weeks.
The AP (1/4) reports, “More than 1,400 long-term care facilities in Virginia are expected to receive doses of the coronavirus vaccine in the coming weeks.” The Virginian-Pilot first “reported Sunday that CVS and Walgreens will administer the vast majority of the doses,” and “are partnering with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to take vaccines directly to the facilities so residents don’t have to travel.”
Louisiana Expands List Of Pharmacies To Offer COVID-19 Vaccines To Residents 70 And Older.
The AP (1/4, Deslatte) reports Louisiana has unveiled a “list of 107 pharmacies that will begin offering” COVID-19 vaccines “this week for people 70 and older.” The AP adds, “With demand certain to outstrip limited supplies and interest running so high, the state website crashed within minutes of the information’s release.” In an effort “to avoid long lines seen in other states with people awaiting vaccination,” the Louisiana Department of Health “stressed that appointments for the immunizations are required.”
Nebraska Governor Says Residents 75 And Older Could Start Receiving COVID-19 Vaccinations By Mid-January.
The Omaha (NE) World-Herald (1/4, Stoddard) reports that on Monday, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) “announced...that Nebraskans age 75 and older could start getting coronavirus vaccinations by mid-January.” Ricketts “said the timing will vary by area of the state and depend on how quickly vaccines are administered to people in the first priority groups, which include frontline health care workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities.” The article notes that as of last weekend, the state “ranked 12th in percentage of its population that had been administered a first dose of the vaccine, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
Mississippi Governor Announces Residents Older Than 65 Will Be Eligible For COVID-19 Vaccine In Two Weeks.
The AP (1/4, Willingham) reports “officials in Mississippi announced a plan Monday to streamline access to coronavirus vaccines for vulnerable populations in the coming weeks.” Gov. Tate Reeves (R) “said Monday that people over the age of 75 will have access to the vaccine, beginning next week, at private clinics and drive-through sites. The week after, those over 65 will become eligible for the vaccine.” The health department “has 18 high-volume drive-through sites prepared for the vaccine rollout.”
COVID-19 Vaccinations For People Aged 75 And Older Could Start Next Week In Clark County, Nevada.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal (1/4, Hynes) reports COVID-19 vaccinations in Clark County, Nevada “for those 75 and older could begin as soon as next week at area pharmacies.” Southern Nevada Health District spokeswoman Jennifer Sizemore said Monday, “The pharmacies will be providing the vaccine to people 75 and older.” Sizemore “said it was her understanding that vaccination of this age group could begin as soon as Jan. 11 but referred a reporter to state officials for details.” Meanwhile, “a spokeswoman for the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services said that some counties in the state may ‘soon’ begin vaccinating those who fall in the second-priority tier group, which includes those 75 and older,” but “she provided no specific time frame.” NIAID Director Anthony Fauci is mentioned.
“Countless” Senior Citizens In Palm Beach County, Florida Have Failed To Receive Information On COVID-19 Vaccine.
The Palm Beach (FL) Post (1/4, Musgrave) reports “countless” senior citizens in Palm Beach County, Florida “have tried and failed to successfully navigate jammed phone lines to get information about the” COVID-19 vaccine. Although “Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday insisted that efforts are underway to push the vaccine out to the state’s 4.4 million senior citizens, getting basic information from the county is difficult.” On Monday, “the spokesman for the Palm Beach County Health Department said it received 20,000 vaccines on Dec. 23 to vaccinate seniors. All but 8,100 had been used.”
Arizona Moves Elderly Residents Who Live At Home To Phase One Tier For Vaccine Prioritization.
The Arizona Daily Star (1/2, Duarte) reported, “Older adults age 75 and up who live at home will have to wait weeks before they get a chance to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Arizona, including Tucson.” The seniors “were moved up in the Phase 1 tier for vaccine prioritization behind health-care workers, and staff and residents at long-term care facilities.” They “are now in a group that also includes health-care workers who did not make the higher prioritization list, adults living in congregate settings, law enforcement, educators, child care workers, and essential service and critical industry workers.” Gov. Doug Ducey (R) “and the state Department of Health Services approved the change regarding the prioritization...a week ago after a recommendation by an advisory panel of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”