“You are still a little hesitant,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “If we don’t go out there first, take the first doses of the vaccine, and show that we believe in and trust him, I don’t think the long-term carers will have the intake they need. ”
In most states, concerted efforts to vaccinate nursing home residents will begin a week later. Beginning December 21, under a contract with the federal government, CVS and Walgreens will deploy pharmacist teams to approximately 75,000 nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in all 50 states to vaccinate as many residents and employees as possible. CVS aims to complete the process over nine to 12 weeks.
On Thursday afternoon, when an FDA advisory committee was debating whether to recommend approval of the Pfizer vaccine, the first packages – vaccination cards, masks, visors, leaflets and syringes – arrived at the UPMC Presbyterian, a hospital in Pittsburgh.
Dr. Graham Snyder, UPMC’s medical director of infection prevention and hospital epidemiology, said a hospital committee had concluded that the immediate goal of the allocation was to prevent community-to-hospital transmission.
“The likelihood of exposure is greater in the community and at home than in the workplace,” he said, noting that health care workers in general have taken great precautions when among patients.
Some hospitals have announced that they will give priority to workers with underlying illnesses that pose a higher risk of developing serious illnesses.
Dr. Marci Drees, the infection prevention officer and hospital epidemiologist at ChristianaCare, a Delaware-based hospital system, said the system would offer its healthcare workers a list of such conditions, but would only ask them to generally state if they had any.