Who’s Getting the First Covid-19 Vaccines in NY: What to Know

First Covid-19 Vaccine

Hope is on the horizon for the healthcare heroes that have exhausted resources including their teams of staff for the past eight months, as the pandemic drags on.

Finally, the beginning of the end is in sight, and Governor Andrew Cuomo plans on giving vaccination priority to nursing home residents and health care workers, as he follows the recommendation set out by The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. New York expects to receive 170,000 doses of a Covid-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech by December 15. Ultimately, distribution depends on authorization by the Food and Drug Administration, and a tentative FDA advisory committee meeting is scheduled for December 10. The vaccine requires each person to receive two doses, and according to Cuomo, New York expects to obtain another 170,000 doses within 21 days to meet that requirement.

Few industries have felt the full wrath of the Covid-19 pandemic like those who operate within the assisted living and nursing home world.

While 6% of U.S. cases have occurred in long-term care facilities, deaths related to Covid-19 in these facilities account for roughly 40% of the country’s pandemic fatalities. Teams have spent the last eight months balancing staff safety with high-risk patients, the adoption of new procedures and the added costs associated with mandated Covid-19 testing requirements. Even before the pandemic, recruiting and retaining qualified skilled workers was a growing challenge across the state. The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) released an updated report revealing that U.S. nursing homes have experienced the worst outbreak of weekly new cases since last spring due to community spread among the general population, surpassing previous peaks since the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) started tracking cases in nursing homes. While federal and state government agencies have stepped in to mitigate the impact of the virus, many staff members are left feeling completely overwhelmed nearly a year into dealing with the loss and strain caused by the pandemic. The news of the pending Covid-19 vaccinations comes as a welcome glimmer of healing as we approach 2021. So, if you are a healthcare worker, when can you realistically expect to be vaccinated?

According to New York’s draft vaccination plan released in October, there are approximately more than 800,000 critical health care workers in hospitals, long term care facilities (LTCFs), emergency medical services, and home care, and approximately 83,000 LTCF residents will be targeted during the initial phase of limited vaccine supply. This means based on available dosages, over 700,000 nursing home residents will miss out on initial vaccinations but will be next in line. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a pharmacy partnership with CVS and Walgreens entitled the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program to offer on-site vaccination services for residents and staff of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The program will provide the vaccines, on-site vaccination of residents, and end-to-end management of the COVID-19 vaccination process, including storage, handling, cold chain management, and fulfillment of reporting requirements, at no cost to the facility. For more information about vaccine training and the latest reference materials for healthcare professionals, please visit this site.